Business school’s VITA program prepares free tax returns for the community

For several years, the Lundy-Fetterman School of Business has provided free tax return preparation for the community through an Internal Revenue Service-sanctioned program called Volunteer Income Tax Assistance or (VITA). 

The program resumed in time for the 2022 tax season on Feb. 9, and volunteers will continue to prepare tax returns every Wednesday from 11 a.m. through 4:30 p.m. through April 6 (March 9 the lone exception).  Since 2017, the VITA program at Campbell has prepared more than 1,100 tax returns for the community free of charge, according to Dr. Pam Strickland, director of the Master of Accountancy program and associate professor of accounting. 

“So far this year, we have prepared more than 100 tax returns,” Strickland said. “It is a lot of work, but this free community service is needed and appreciated by so many taxpayers who put their trust in us year after year.” 

Campbell’s VITA site will be open to file tax returns each Wednesday through April 6 at the Lundy-Fetterman School of Business

Strickland has directed the program for five years, working with students, faculty and community volunteers to ensure they are properly trained using IRS resources to prepare tax returns. She coordinates with an IRS SPEC agent and community partners at the Harnett Library starting in October to prepare for the start of “tax season” in February. 

The IRS requires specific standards are met at the site so that returns are accurate and volunteers are properly trained to work at the site. All volunteers are required to earn IRS certifications in professional responsibility, and depending on their role at the VITA site, they earn additional certifications in intake; interview and quality review; and tax return preparation for basic, advanced and foreign student tax preparation. 

Yu-Mong Hsiao has volunteered with Campbell’s VITA program for 24 years.

Among the volunteers is Yu-Mong Hsiao, professor of business administration and economics and chair the Business Administration and Economics department, who has given her time at the VITA site for 24 years. 

The program at Campbell assists taxpayers who generally earn less than $58,000 a year. They are typically older adults or single parents who would otherwise not file at all or pay to have their tax returns filed.