Group offers free tax prep


Adrianna Gonzalez

Second-year business administration student Yen Truong helps a member of the community with her taxes.

Adrianna Gonzalez, Daily Editor

For the seventh year, a business professor and students are volunteering to help members of the AACC community and residents of Anne Arundel County file their taxes for free.

Until April 4, the group is working through VITA, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, to fill out taxes for students, faculty, staff and community members earning $55,000 or less at no charge.

Professor Michael Gavin is in his third year as the volunteer coordinator of the VITA program at AACC.

“There’s a need and we provide good service at zero cost,” Gavin said. “Taxes are complicated, and taxes are expensive.”

Gavin said the program uses business students as volunteers.

“We have a lot of new volunteers this year,” Gavin said. “That’s why we’re a bit slower, because newer volunteers take a little time [to learn], but it’s so wonderful.”

The volunteers finish most clients’ taxes in less than an hour.

Gavin noted business students who want to volunteer must go through a certification process.

“Once they go through the training program, they must pass four IRS-administered tests with an 80% or better,” Gavin said. “That then enables them to be certified to prepare taxes in the program.”

This year, 28 volunteers are filling out tax forms.

Second-year financial accounting student Cheyenne Douglas said she is volunteering because Gavin, her personal and consumer finance professor, asked her to.

“This gives the people in our area the ability to have somebody to do their taxes and gives the students the ability to learn and put the knowledge that they’re learning in their major to practical application,” Douglas said.

First-year business administration transfer student Lina Patel said this is her first time as a volunteer for the VITA program.

“I did it because it looks good on your resume and I wanted that,” she said. “I think it’s worth it.”

Third-year mechatronics student Banchuen Saenkot brought her taxes to the volunteers for help for the first time this year.

“This is pretty good; it’s helpful,” Saenkot said. “It is free of charge and the people here are kind and eager to help.”

Community members, students, faculty and staff can make appointments by searching “VITA” on AACC’s website.