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For the second year, Hillsdale College stu­dents will vol­unteer for the IRS’ Vol­unteer Income Tax Assis­tance Program through the Hillsdale Com­munity Action Agency.

Stu­dents par­tic­i­pating in VITA will help cit­izens of Hillsdale County file their taxes. Pre­vious tax expe­rience is not required, but vol­un­teers must take a training course and pass an exam. Last year, all 13 Hillsdale stu­dents who took the test passed.

“VITA pro­vides a tremendous service to the com­munity,” said Pro­fessor of Accounting and department chair Michael Sweeney. “This kind of service usually requires people to pay a lot of money that they cannot.”

The program runs from January to April, and stu­dents are not required to com­plete a spe­cific number of hours to par­tic­ipate.

The Accounting Club, which hosts VITA, will have its first infor­ma­tional meeting on Nov. 19. Sweeney encourages all stu­dents to con­sider the program.

“You do not have to be an accounting student to par­tic­ipate,” he said. “VITA is a great thing. It gives you expe­rience with one-on-one contact with a tax­payer and you are really helping out the com­munity.”

Senior Matthew Kidd, pres­ident of the accounting club, par­tic­i­pated in VITA last year. He found that vol­un­teering did not require “any accounting knowledge to take part in it.”

But Sweeney said that accounting stu­dents will gain expe­rience in learning the tax code through the program.

Stu­dents will not be held liable for any mis­takes that they make while assisting with returns. A super­visor, who will be con­sis­tently on-site to help vol­un­teers, will review all tax returns.

Stu­dents can also receive internship credit through their involvement in VITA. Interns are required to have 40 hours of service and have all their work reviewed a super­visor.

In 2011, through the com­bined work of stu­dents, Hillsdale vol­un­teered 750 hours through VITA.

Kidd said that VITA was a valuable point on his resume.

“Most of the places I inter­viewed at asked me about VITA because it’s a nationally known orga­ni­zation,” he said. “It also feels good to give back to the com­munity.”