UK Tax Clinic Helps Local Taxpayers Save
Now that tax season is over, preliminary numbers are coming in from the 2013 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program.
This year, a total of 24 volunteers including 11 law students and one law alumnus, gave their time to prepare approximately 520 returns for mostly low-income, foreign-student, and foreign-scholar taxpayers. Clients saved an estimated $100,000 in preparation fees and received total federal refunds of $325,000. While state refunds are not reported, they typically run about half of federal amounts, resulting in an estimated half-million dollar total profit to the Lexington community.
Each VITA volunteer must complete 16 hours of classroom training and must pass four IRS tests. Each volunteer then works a minimum of three hours per week (though many volunteers worked double this amount, or more) from the end of February to mid-April.
The UK Law VITA site is one of 19 in Central Kentucky operated with the help of United Way of the Bluegrass. Of all those sites, UK prepared 14.2% of the returns.
“The UK Tax Clinic is a wonderful chance for students to develop their professional skills and have a positive impact on another’s life," said Andy Bates, second year law student and site manager for the College of Law Tax Clinic. "Engaging in direct client service and practicing both legal and interpersonal skills in a practical setting is an invaluable opportunity.”
A big thanks goes to Associate Dean Doug Michael for his program leadership, and Professor Jennifer Bird-Pollan for her support. Volunteers from the College of Law are:
Cate Poole (class of 2011)
Laura Leigh Zimmerman