YPSILANTI – Over the next two months, Eastern Michigan University accounting students from the College of Business are offering free income tax preparation help to low income residents from the Ypsilanti community through the VITA (voluntary income tax assistance) program.
The students will be on the first floor of the College of Business from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on six successive Saturdays, from March 9 through April 13. The college is located at 300 West Michigan Avenue in Ypsilanti.
The service has been offered annually by EMU students, and is among a wide variety of community activities undertaken by the Eastern Michigan University chapter of Beta Alpha Psi, a national accounting honors organization. The chapter has been recognized internationally as a superior chapter for the past 19 years.
“We’re gratified to be able to offer this important and timely service to members of the community, said EMU accounting professor Howard Bunsis, the faculty adviser of the EMU chapter. “This effort, in which we are partnering with the United Way, underscores the dedication of our student leaders and members and their focus on the community. We are very grateful to our VITA leaders, Jacob Dembinski and Russell Sansbury, who have spearheaded this effort.”
Those interested in getting tax preparation help can book appointments through the United Way tax help website. People will be instructed via the website sign up as far as what to bring. That typically includes Social Security cards and picture ID for all family members, W-2 and 1099 forms as well as any other documentation of income earned during the year, proof of rent or mortgage property tax payments, any Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Income, heating bills if applicable, and any other tax related letters or documents.
The EMU chapter performs hundreds of hours of community service each semester, including work on behalf of other organizations such as Meals on Wheels, the Walk to Fight Cancer, Habitat for Humanity and Food Gatherers. Last year, the members of Beta Alpha Psi filled out the tax return for 168 low-income people in the Ypsilanti community.
In addition to its community service and social activities, the group hosts weekly meetings with presentations by potential employers. The firms speak about resume preparation, how to conduct yourself at an interview, and the environment for accountants and business in Michigan.
Beta Alpha Psi, founded in 1919, is headquartered in Durham, N.C. There are more than 300 chapters on college campuses worldwide, with over 300,000 members initiated since its formation. The primary objective of Beta Alpha Psi is to encourage and give recognition to scholastic and professional excellence in the business information field.
About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 19,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Health and Human Services; Technology, and its graduate school. EMU is regularly recognized by national publications for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website.