PC professor, students volunteer to file taxes, more with United Way
Tax season has begun. And once again PC accounting professor Karen Mattison and accounting students are planning to volunteer to help eligible residents file their taxes.
Mattison and students in her federal income tax class volunteer through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. VITA is a free service to local residents with a combined household income of less than $60,000. VITA is provided by the IRS and run locally by the United Way of Laurens County.
The service is one of the many ways that PC professors, staff members and students serve the community through the United Way.
“I am passionate about United Way because I see how it helps people in our local community,” Mattison said. “I am most passionate about the VITA program.”
Students in the federal income tax class are required to pass VITA certification to prepare tax returns. Six to eight students have volunteered for each of the last four tax seasons.
“Students and other volunteers, sit with the individuals as the tax returns are prepared” Mattison said. “It is a great experience for the students because they get to help and interact with people while using their tax knowledge.”
The tax knowledge is appreciated since VITA volunteers do more than prepare taxes for free. They also help make sure that community members receive the tax credits and deductions they’re eligible for.
According to the United Way website, “Many in our community don't have access to affordable tax preparation services or are unaware of programs like Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) that could put thousands of dollars back in their hands and into our local economy.
“VITA helps taxpayers obtain eligible tax credits and deductions, especially EITC, Child Tax Credit, Education Tax Credits and Child Care tax deductions.”
Last year, the PC students, Mrs. Mattison, and her husband were among 20 volunteers who completed 363 tax returns for local residents. The volunteers’ efforts returned those in the community $131,235 in Earned Income Credit and $61,507 in Child Tax Credit. Because of the volunteers, residents saved a total of $72,600 in tax preparation fees.
PC has been supporting the United Way for more than 20 years. Professors, staff members, and students volunteer their time and talents in more ways than through the VITA program.
Each year PC runs a fundraising campaign to donate to the United Way. In addition to volunteering with VITA, Mattison has been the chair of the campaign for the last three years.
“PC employees have increased their financial support for United Way each year,” Mattison said.
The funds support 16 of United Way’s partner agencies that help local children, youth, and adults achieve their potential through education, health, financial stability, and emergency relief.
Even more, students intern, volunteer, and do work-study with many of the agencies supported. Faculty and staff members help with Meals on Wheels, gathering school supplies for the back-to-school drive, and other activities.
If you or someone you know needs help preparing tax returns, please call 211. Please visit: uwlc-online.org/volunteer to see how you can volunteer with United Way of Laurens County.
About PC: Presbyterian College is between Columbia and Greenville, in the college town of Clinton, S.C. At PC, we’re noted as much for our challenging academics as we are for our one-of-a-kind mascot: the Blue Hose. Our students are one-of-a-kind too: They bring their own interests and abilities to campus and pursue them with gusto. Students customize their education by choosing from 50-plus majors and pre-professional programs. They’re taught and mentored by a faculty whose #1 priority is their students’ success. Students research, intern, and study abroad. And they get involved on campus, a place defined by honor and ethics. PC prepares students to be fulfilled personally and professionally so they can contribute to today’s global society.