This tax season, Suffolk students helped nearly 250 people file their taxes and get the most out of their tax returns.
Working with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Center and Boston Tax Help Coalition, Suffolk University hosted a free tax preparation site on campus. Site coordinator Michaele Morrow and student volunteers provided state and federal tax services for people who earned less than $54,000 in 2015.
The center was open to the public February through April, and international students and veterans were invited to visit the center on specific days to receive additional information about their unique tax and scholarship benefits. Additionally, on April 9, volunteers prepared tax returns for alumni of the Moving Ahead Program—an employment program at St. Francis House for people who are overcoming homelessness, addiction, mental illness, and/or incarceration.
For the student volunteers, the tax center was a chance to gain practical hands-on experience as they gave back to the community. “Before this experience, I didn’t enjoy taxation because there are so many laws to memorize. But now, I’ve gained so many new skills that preparing tax returns is much easier,” said BSBA senior Lin Lin Chen, who fulfilled her pre-professional experience requirement at the tax center.
Bryan Siu, another BSBA senior, found the experience personally and professionally rewarding. “It was a humbling experience because I felt that many of the clients were very grateful for the free service that we were providing them,” he said. Like Chen, Siu also gained credit toward his accounting major.
Siu also noted that Professor Morrow played a pivotal role in his experience. "Every once in a while, we'd stumble across a complicated tax issue, but Professor Michaele always had an answer. She provided clear explanations, and thanks to her, I learned a lot about tax preparation in the process."
This is the 11th year that Suffolk has been a key partner and supporter of the Boston Tax Help Coalition. “In addition to providing us with volunteers from its pool of excellent students, Suffolk has also generously donated use of its computer labs within the Sawyer Business School for volunteer tax preparer training,” states the Boston Tax Help Coalition’s website.