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UK Law Students Provide Free Filing Assistance, Save Tax Payers over $100,000 in Fees

May 31, 2017

This spring, the University of Kentucky College of Law continued one of its signature pro bono efforts – the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program. Law student volunteers provided free assistance with tax preparations and filings to mostly low income individuals with simple returns.

This year, a total of 40 volunteers, including 28 law students, 10 accounting students and two law alumni, prepared and filed 518 tax returns, saving clients over $100,000 in preparation fees. Clients received $497,960 in federal refunds and $45,120 in state refunds. The tax clinic was open Monday, February 20 through Tuesday, April 18.

The UK Law VITA site is one of 19 in Central Kentucky operating with the help of United Way of the Bluegrass. Douglas Michael, Stites & Harbison Professor of Law at UK College of Law, leads the VITA clinic with the help of Jennifer Bird-Pollan, James and Mary Lassiter Associate Professor of Law.

“The VITA clinic provides an essential resource for campus and community residents to get tax help they could find nowhere else, an unparalleled opportunity for students to get substantial clinical experience, and an affirmation by the University of Kentucky that it is committed to public service,” said Prof. Michael.

All student volunteers must complete a series of in-class or online trainings, and afterwards, pass multiple Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tests to receive certification. It’s a great opportunity for students to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom in practical scenarios.

“I am proud to help prepare dozens of students each year as they work without credit or pay for many hours each week from January through April in service to our community,” said Prof. Michael.

UK Law student and alumni volunteers for 2017 included: Tyler Almeida, Eric Burse, Katelyn Brown, Lauren Cobo, Gentry Collins, Amanda Connors, Carlin Conway, Brittany Crouch, Tad Darlington, Bethany Davenport, Sinclair Davies, Jacqueline Graves, Brandon Hamilton, Hayden Holbrook, Michael Hooper, Jared Hudson, Lesley Lawson, Jake Miller, Sophie Miller, Sydney Montgomery, Taylor Oldham, Cate Poole (UK Law ’11), Melanie Ramsey, Brian Scroggins, Abid Shalash (UK Law ’16), Sam Smith, Caroline Snell, Anthony Thomas, Jordan Thomas, and Ivey Workman.