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CCRI business students volunteer to prepare tax returns

Feb. 21, 2019

Community College of Rhode Island business students are participating in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, which the college is hosting for the first time this month.

The program, known as VITA, offers free tax help to people who generally make $55,000 or less, those with disabilities and limited English speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals.

Students and other volunteers will assist taxpayers from 2 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 27, at the CCRI Flanagan Campus, 1762 Louisquisset Pike, Lincoln.

Associate Professor Cecile Roberti, who teaches in the Business and Professional Studies Department, said a friend who is involved with the Rhode Island Society of Certified Public Accountants put her in contact with the United Way about bringing the program to CCRI.

“I thought it would be a great opportunity, especially for our students who are taking the Personal Income Taxes course,” Roberti said. “Once students are trained, they are certified IRS tax preparers who can help others. It gives our students another certification, another credential they can put on their résumé. It’s a win-win.”

The VITA program has been in operation and partnership with United Way of Rhode Island since 2005. In 2018, 26,000 individual federal, state and senior income tax returns were filed through the program. United Way hosted a training at CCRI in January for 45 returning volunteers who guide and train CCRI students and other volunteers at the sites this month.