Four Alma College accounting students, along with Tina Rolling, assistant professor of business administration, completed training, became certified and volunteered to prepare tax returns for community members in need.
The students — Alma Accounting Association members Brooks Hyble, Kaylynne Perian, Falynne Hudecz and Charlie Warber — with Rolling, their faculty advisor, helped return nearly $20,000 in federal, state and home heating dollars to 18 Michigan households representing 30 Michigan taxpayers.
“We wanted more experience on the tax side of accounting, and we saw this as an opportunity to further ourselves and, more importantly, help the community,” says Hyble, a senior from Mount Pleasant.
The group helped prepare taxes through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program, which offers free tax preparation for those who make $54,000 or less, or those with disabilities.
“We were able to do this on Alma’s campus through a virtual VITA site, in which information was collected elsewhere and we just prepared the returns,” says Hyble. “We also had a day at the Alma Public Library, helping in person with the intake and the preparation of each person’s taxes.”
Local families expressed their appreciation for the volunteer service.
“We had two or three people say that they were genuinely excited to have Alma College students help prepare their taxes,” says Hyble. “We had great conversations with the community members while the taxes were being prepared.
“We were all impressed with the fact that we could make such a large impact because taxes can really be a troublesome event for most people,” he says. “It also was surprising how much information we all needed to know in order to complete a federal return and especially a state return, but we had great guidance by Ross Yednock, who is the program director of the Michigan Economic Impact Coalition, to help us get there.”