UGA students offer free tax prep services

February 1 – ATHENS – University of Georgia students will again offer free tax preparation services as part of the UGA Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program.

Since 2006, faculty members from UGA’s College of Family and Consumer Sciences have worked with the Internal Revenue Service to deliver the VITA program to the Athens community.

Through a partnership with UGA Cooperative Extension, the program offers virtually free tax filing services to communities across the state.

The VITA program provides free tax assistance to low- and middle-income households or those who would like assistance in preparing their own tax returns.

“The VITA program represents a valuable resource for both the community and UGA students,” said Lance Palmer, a financial planning faculty member at FACS who oversees the program with Joan Koonce, professor and UGA Extension financial planning specialist. “For students, it offers real-world interactions with actual clients that will serve them well in their search for a career after graduation.”

Through the service-learning course, FACS financial planning majors, along with students from the JM Tull School of Accounting at Terry College of Business and the UGA School of Social Work, are certified by the IRS as tax preparers and receive academic recognition for their involvement.

Personal tax returns for Athens area residents are filed in three locations: at Charles Schwab’s Financial Planning Center on the UGA campus; the Hancock Community Development Corporation and the East Athens Development Corporation.

VITA is offered on Saturdays at Hancock Community Development Corporation and East Athens Development Corporation. Residents residing outside the area can schedule virtual appointments through their district extension offices.

Appointments can be made on the VITA website at

Last year, students in the program filed more than 1,500 federal returns, secured $2.3 million in reimbursements and contributed to an estimated $4.4 million impact, helping Georgia residents more than 600,000 saved dollars in fees.

“For most financial planning majors, this is their favorite class,” said FACS student Josh Brumbach. “In addition to the community impact, it’s a very developmental experience. It’s definitely a lot different than looking at a case study in a book and is a huge part of the FACS experience.”

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