ASC free tax service is continued success

(04-09-2010)

Gratitude in the form of smiles, gracious thank-yous and candy have all been offered to the Adams State College School of Business students and faculty for their free tax service assistance.

Torben Walters, a senior accounting major, said he volunteered to help the community and to "get the experience." He volunteers six hours a week, is taking a full load of classes and is a student athlete. "I've really enjoyed helping a lot of people. One woman was so grateful she brought in candy the next session to show her appreciation."

The School of Business accounting faculty and The Piton Foundation are providing free tax service to qualifying individuals at the School of Business lobby through April 15. They have assisted over 400 people with a combined total of over a half a million dollars in refunds. A woman, living at La Puente, the homeless shelter, lost her job and her employment benefits ran out. "She couldn't afford to pay to have her taxes done and was so appreciative of our free service," said Jeanie O'Laughlin, assistant professor of business.

The accounting students received training for filing taxes and every return is reviewed by one of the faculty. "We have logged in over seven-hundred and twenty volunteer hours, and that doesn't count the training," she said.

Sixteen students and four accounting faculty, including Bill Herrmann, Linda Reid, Sheryl Abeyta-Brown, and O’Laughlin, have been volunteering their time since the end of January. "We had a bus load of senior citizens from San Luis come in one time," O'Laughlin added. For five Saturdays, the service was offered in La Jara, where over 60 people were served.

Andrea Salazar, a junior accounting major, said she appreciated the "real world" experience. "It feels really good to have the clients smile and say thank-you. Many offer to pay or tip us, we always turn them down."

Adams State's free tax site is open from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Saturdays; and 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, through April 15. Call 719-587-7316 for information.

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By Linda Relyea