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Stetson’s VITA Program Celebrates $2 Million in Local Tax Refunds

Stetson University School of Business Administration hosted a celebratory event recently to commemorate the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program securing $2 million in tax refunds for local families over the past nine years.

Co-sponsored by the United Way of Volusia-Flagler counties, Stetson’s M.E. Rinker, Sr. Institute of Tax and Accountancy and Stetson’s Center for Community Engagement, the VITA program’s volunteers helped file more than 2,000 tax returns, at no charge, for low-income families in the community. 

Stetson University student volunteers celebrate the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program securing $2 million in tax refunds for local families over the past nine years. From L to R: Alexus Woods, Van Tran, Joshua Finkelstein, Caroline Skinner (SoBA employee and VITA volunteer), Remi Lavers, Ivy Nguyen, Zel Soe, Clarissa O’Connell, Nick Pezeshkan, Matthew Holden, Ian Anderson, and Mark West (accounting instructor and VITA volunteer).

Bonnie Holloway, a visiting lecturer in accounting, served as site coordinator for Stetson’s VITA program. This year alone she trained 50 student-volunteers and was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the site. 

Bonnie Holloway

“I’m so proud of our volunteers,” said Holloway. “Not only do they provide quality tax-preparation services to the community but they also interact respectfully with the clients as they learn valuable real-world skills.”

Each tax return was reviewed for quality control by the VITA site coordinator, a student assistant site coordinator, or a member of Stetson’s Accounting Advisory Board. Board members donated their time and expertise to serve as mentors to the student tax preparers.

“One of our reviewers, Geoff Gose, is a former Stetson student who now works in the corporate tax department at Disney and he volunteers his time to this program and to our community,” Holloway said.

-Marie Dinklage

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