ODU Student Volunteers Help Nearly 300 Taxpayers Complete Returns



Columbus, OH Ohio Dominican University’s (ODU) Accounting students and faculty prepared 299 state and federal tax returns, and processed $224,475 in refunds during ODU’s seventh annual Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. 

Volunteers also prepared returns for eight Spanish-only clients. ODU offered the only fully bilingual tax return preparation service in Central Ohio. 

24 students; 12 ODU students and 12 students from Bishop Watterson High School (BWHS), participated in this year’s VITA program and filed for $202,347 in federal refunds, and $21,828 in state refunds. The BWHS students received one college credit hour and accrued service learning hours. 

The program was offered on Wednesdays and Saturdays, Feb. 20 – April 13.  

“Through the VITA program, our accounting students helped real people with real tax needs by using the knowledge and skills they learned in our classrooms, and I am extremely proud of what they have accomplished,” said Bob Osborne, ODU assistant professor of Accounting and VITA program advisor. “This program truly is a win-win-win situation for everyone; the community receives a quality service free of charge; our students gain valuable experience for their resume, and the University gets to realize its mission of serving the community.” 

VITA offers free tax help to people with low-to-moderate income (generally $50,000 and below). Through this program, ODU accounting students offer assistance with special credits, including earned income tax credit, child tax credit and credit for the elderly. 

ODU faculty and students have helped prepare 1,715 tax returns since ODU first offered the VITA program in 2007. In spring 2012, 328 tax returns were prepared, saving clients approximately $82,000 in tax preparation fees. More than $224,000 in returns were processed in 2012.  

The Internal Revenue Service certifies as tax preparers the participating accounting students, usually juniors or seniors. Under the supervision of faculty members who are certified public accountants, students prepare federal, state, local school and city income tax returns. In addition to free tax return preparation assistance, the program offers free electronic filing (e-filing). 

Ohio Dominican University is a four-year private liberal arts and master’s institution, founded in 1911 in the Catholic and Dominican tradition. The University has approximately 2,700 students and offers undergraduate degrees in 42 majors as well as seven graduate degree programs. Ohio Dominican uses a student-centered approach, with a commitment to quality teaching and learning.