In the 10th year of partnering with Impact America’s SaveFirst initiative, trained Spring Hill College students once again connected to establish and manage work sites, providing free tax preparation for low-income, working families. Andy Sharp, PhD, Accounting Professor and Erik Goldschmidt, PhD, Director of the Foley Community Service Center recruited students to participate and coordinated the service-learning opportunities.
This tax season, 17 Spring Hill students served at free tax preparation sites across Mobile to help prepare 532 tax returns for working families – securing them over $650,000 in tax refunds and saving them over $200,000 in commercial tax preparation fees.
"This is an incredibly rewarding experience and a great service-learning opportunity for the students of various academic majors reflecting the College's Jesuit tradition of cura personalis. Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) indeed serves as an enriching and humbling activity in the eyes and hearts of the participants,” said Sharp.
In another record year for SaveFirst, Spring Hill students were part of a coalition of over 500 volunteers from across the state of Alabama who provided free tax preparation to low-income, working families. The SaveFirst initiative exists to ensure these families receive the full Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and other credits to which they are entitled and to encourage long-term financial planning and asset-building. With more than 62 percent of EITC recipients in Alabama paying a commercial preparer to complete their taxes, Alabama families lose more than $126 million each year to commercial tax preparation costs. SaveFirst volunteers provide an alternative to commercial preparers and served more than 10,000 Alabama families, helping them claim over $15 million in refunds and save approximately $4 million in commercial preparation fees.