VITA program gives AU students opportunity to apply skills in real-world setting

Aurora University students work on a client's tax returns during the first session of the 2013 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program in Dunham Hall.

Aurora University students work on a client's tax returns during the first session of the 2013 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program in Dunham Hall.

Since Aurora University introduced the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program in 2002, AU tax preparers have helped generate more than $2.5 million in refunds for local taxpayers and saved them an estimated $375,000 in tax-preparation fees.

As VITA opened its 12th season this past weekend, faculty and students in the AU Dunham School of Business looked forward to another year of serving the community.

“It is an incredible service that we provide,” said Meagan Edgren, a junior business major. “It gives you a sense of accomplishment knowing that you helped so many individuals.”

The annual event is a helpful opportunity for local community members who receive high quality tax preparation at no charge, but also is very beneficial to Aurora University students.

“Students have an opportunity to put their tax skills to practice in a real setting,” said David Diehl, Assistant Professor of Accounting. “Our students report tremendous satisfaction from assisting the community.”

“The program allows us to apply the skills we have learned,” said Edgren. “This experience will allow me to be more confident entering the business world.”

The VITA program continues March 16 and 23 from 8 a.m. to noon in the Dunham Hall lobby.

The free service, including e-filing, is available to low-income, elderly and disabled residents earning up to $50,000 on a walk-in basis. No reservations are accepted. Bilingual college students will provide translation assistance for Spanish-speaking taxpayers.

Taxpayers should bring copies of personal documents, including Social Security card, driver’s license, 2012 W2s and other tax statements, state and federal 2011 returns, voided check or deposit slip, 2012 real-estate tax statement and childcare provider identification. Call 630-844-7557 or e-mail au-vita@aurora.edu for more information.