Baylor Business School Rallies Tax Preparation Volunteers To Help Waco Community

Jan. 17, 2003

by Cynthia J. Jackson

Baylor University business students, faculty and staff have an opportunity to assist families in the Waco community by helping make sure they receive tax benefits that they may not otherwise know to claim, such as the Earned Income Credit and the refundable Childcare Credit. The Heart of Texas Financial Literacy Coalition estimates that 5,700 families in the City of Waco were eligible for a total of $10 million of these credits last year that were never claimed.

"I am convinced that this is something we, as a community of Christian business people, can and should do something about," said Dr. Bill Thomas, Professor of Accounting and The J.E. Bush Professor of Accounting, who is leading the initiative. "Think about the difference that money could have made to these people's lives and the community of Waco."

In the program being coordinated by the Coalition and partially funded by the Rapoport Foundation, faith-based institutions will provide free income tax return preparation assistance to people who cannot afford professional tax help, such as senior citizens and disabled, low-income and non-English speaking people.

Thomas is urging students, faculty and staff from Baylor's Hankamer School of Business, especially those in the accounting field, to help with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, sponsored by the IRS. Free training will be provided for volunteers, who are asked to help an average of one or two Saturdays per month from February through April 15. Greeters, interpreters and return preparers are needed.

For those interested in volunteering, the IRS will conduct a special training session on Friday, Jan. 24, from 2 to 4 p.m. in room 206 of the Cashion Academic Building on the Baylor campus. For more information, contact Thomas at (254) 710-4924 or Bill_Thomas@baylor.edu.

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