Free tax preparation at UTPA

Saturday, April 13, 2013 - 12:19pm

Accounting students at the University of Texas Pan American used their skills to help people prepare their Federal Income Tax forms.

Stephanie Herrera and Mirta San Miguel say they're grateful to the many people who are helping them along the way as they pursue their accounting degrees at UTPA. One way they showed their appreciation recently was by applying what they've learned in the classroom to a real life project and doing it free. The students and more than 30 of their classmates, many of whom are members of the association of Latino professionals in finance and accounting in the college of business administration, volunteered their time and skills for several hours a week since January to assist local residents and the University Community in preparing their federal income tax forms. They say it gives them great satisfaction knowing that they're making a difference and giving back to the community.

"I actually feel very good about it that we're giving back to the community. The community has done a lot for us students helping us out, sponsoring us. So i'm really happy to do that for them because we are saving them a lot of money. We know that with any other, wherever you go any tax preparers, they do charge a percentage so they get to save up to $200, $300 dollars from their income tax so i'm happy to do that for them."

Students in the college of business administration had provided tax preparation assistance in the past to University employees and community members who qualified, but it was discontinued for a number of years. This concerned current accounting major, so they volunteered to bring back the free service. In all, they submitted more than 100 income tax returns to the IRS and were able to get more than $127,000, in refunds for their clients.

UTPA's college of business administration partnered with United Way to organize the tax preparations effort on campus. As part of the project, business faculty and staff monitored, reviewed and approved the student's tax preparation paperwork before it was submitted to the IRS.

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