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UK Law’s VITA Program Wraps up a Successful Season

June 17, 2016

This spring, the University of Kentucky College of Law continued one of its signature pro bono efforts – the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program. UK College of Law student volunteers provided free assistance with tax preparations and filings to mostly low income individuals with simple returns. Now that tax season is over, the 2016 numbers are in!

This year, a total of 28 volunteers, including 14 law students and one law alumna, prepared and filed 593 tax returns, saving clients an estimated $88,950 in preparation fees. Clients received $707,821 in federal refunds and $93,898 in state refunds.

The UK Law VITA site is one of nineteen 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. Prof. Bird-Pollan has been involved with the clinic every year since joining the UK Law faculty in 2010.

“My favorite part of our clinic is seeing students take ownership of the process, and really become experts over the course of the few months that the clinic is open,” says Prof. Bird-Pollan. “I especially love it when people come back year after year and really demonstrate a commitment to what we do.”

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.

The 2016 UK College of Law student and alumni volunteers included: Tyler Almeida, Katelyn Brown, Brittany Crouch, Tad Darlington, Parker DeAgano, Justin Johnson, Bret Knickerbocker, Lesley Lawson, Tatiana Lipsey, Emily McClure, Sophia Miller, Cate Poole (UK Law ’11), Alex Risman, Mark Roth, and Abid Shalash.