Students Offer Free Tax Prep

Students Offer Free Tax Prep

Four SUNY Delhi students majoring in Accounting are volunteering seven of their Saturdays this spring to assist fellow students and community members with filing their federal income taxes. This is SUNY Delhi’s fifth year participating in the Voluntary Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA), a nationwide program co-sponsored by the Internal Revenue Service and the United Way. This program offers free assistance with tax preparation to the campus and greater Delhi communities for people who make less than $54,000 per year.

Student helps another student with their taxes on their laptopThe students volunteering for this program are all enrolled in Professor Charlie Molé’s Federal Income Tax class, but participating in VITA is not a requirement. They all chose to take an IRS income tax certification over their semester break and agreed to volunteer 28 hours over seven Saturdays.

Professor Molé and Assistant Professor Adriene Clifford oversee the VITA group on campus and commented how these students are all real self-starters. “We don’t require anyone to participate, but those who want to have to do some hard work to study and take the certification course on their own, then show us their credentials in order to volunteer,” said Clifford. Clifford also remarked on how participation in this program benefits the students in a variety of ways. “They are getting real-world experience in working with the public and developing their people skills. Professionals in accounting and any field of business need strong one-on-one skills and this program gives them plenty of practice.”

The students reflected on how much they are getting out of the program as well. Norelhoda Bellantonio ’20 said she is learning how to deal with customers and adapt to different needs and personalities. After graduation, Bellantonio hopes to pursue a master's degree and eventually become a Certified Public Accountant. Nirayl Eichson ’21 has his eye on becoming a chief financial officer someday and is thankful for the experience because he learned how to file taxes without having to rely on anyone else. He is also grateful for the opportunity to learn tax prep and provide this service, while still having the safety net of Clifford and Molé to double check things if he and the other volunteers have questions. Cade Stevens ’20, a dual major in Accounting and Business & Professional Golf Management, commented that this experience has been very practical, taking what they are learning the classroom and using it in a real-world situation.

There are still two Saturdays left in this year’s VITA program, March 16 and March 23, 2019. Community members are welcome to take advantage of the service, and questions about registering for the program can be directed to Adriene Clifford at or 607-746-4102.