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Regent Law Students Help Community by Offering Volunteer Income Tax Assistance

Over the past few years, Regent University School of Law students have reached out to the surrounding community by offering free tax assistance through the Internal Revenue Service's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. The VITA Program offers free tax preparation for low to moderate income families and individuals who cannot prepare their own tax returns. Student volunteers must complete a rigorous training program which details the IRS tax code and provides students with hands on tax assistance training. After completing each of the two separate training modules, students must pass a post-test with an 80% or higher proficiency before the IRS will issue a certificate of completion. After receiving certificates of completion, students are able to volunteer their time as tax preparers for would be tax payers.

This year the VITA workshops will be conducted on Saturdays from 8am to 4pm in the Regent University Communications Building. The first workshop was held on February 10, with workshops continuing on Saturdays through April 14. Regent will not provide workshops on Saturday, April 7 because of University closings for the Easter Holiday.

When asked why he chose to volunteer his time for VITA, second year law student Jared Hodge said, "I volunteer for VITA because it is a way of helping those who are less fortunate. Sometimes it doesn't seem like we make that big of an impact helping a few people with their taxes. But when you see a single mom who brings her 3 kids in during the VITA program because she can't afford a babysitter, and we are able to help her, that's when it matters."

To learn more about the VITA program, visit the Internal Revenue Service's web site online at http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=107626,00.html.

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