UNLV law students offer free tax service
This article has been read 277 times.
VITA program certifies volunteers, provides assistance to low-income taxpayers
Forty students from the William S. Boyd School of Law will offer free tax services three days a week at the Cambridge and Whitney Community Centers until April 14 to anyone who makes less than $50,000 a year.
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) is offered by many organizations, but the project at Boyd is unique in that it is run entirely by students.
Second-year law student Rajan Dhungana heads the project.
“We decided to do this so that we could offer a service to the public while also giving our students valuable experience related to their field of study,” Dhungana said.
Dhungana took classes with the IRS to become a certified teacher, then taught his classmates and certified them as well.
“One of the things that makes [this program] so special this year is the amount of volunteers,” said second-year law student John Corey, who volunteers for the VITA program.
Almost 40 students have received intermediate and advanced certification to work for the program.
Dhungana said that $15-20 million in potential tax refunds goes unclaimed in Clark County every year due to people not filing their taxes properly.
“We’re working to make sure people get the money they can,” Dhungana said.
In the session VITA has run so far, the multi-lingual team of students have served 60 people.
Dhungana and his fellow volunteers plan to continue growing the project next year. He said the law students hope to involve undergraduate accounting students with VITA in the future.
“It’s a great way to earn some extra money,” Dhungana said.
Students certified to work with VITA can become IRS-enrolled tax agents.
“This is the kind of volunteer work I believe in,” Dhungana said, “because it helps not only the people, but the volunteers as well.”
Corey called the program “the perfect way to help people.”
“It’s nice to feel like I can turn around and bring the knowledge I’ve gained to other people in a way that really helps them,” Corey said.
The Cambridge Community Center is located at Cambridge Street and Flamingo Road. The Whitney Community Center is located at Tropicana Avenue and Boulder Highway.
The VITA program is not expected to run at UNLV beyond this year.
Contact Frank Johnson at email@example.com.