Cresson, Pa. – In spite of the coronavirus pandemic forcing the College to shut down, Mount Aloysius College student volunteers for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program managed to prepare 224 federal and state tax returns, as well as a number of local income tax returns and property tax / rent rebate filings. Excluding local returns and property tax / rent rebate filings, the VITA volunteers were able to achieve a total refund amount of $246,904 for their clients.

Michael Shipman, the VITA site coordinator, and his team of eight students continued to assist local community members who had dropped off their tax information prior to the onset of the pandemic, even while the College was closed.

The 2019 VITA tax season ran from February 10, 2020 through March 13, 2020. While this season’s numbers are lower than normal, Shipman is optimistic about the program’s success.

“Had there been no lockdown, we were roughly on pace for about 450 returns and $500K (about $40K of which would have been due to the EIC) in refunds,” Shipman said. “It looks like demand for our service remains strong!”

VITA offers tax help at no cost to community members in need. The program is available to taxpayers who generally make less than $56,000 annually, persons with disabilities, and those with limited English-speaking skills.

Assisting with VITA helps students learn to communicate with clients on a professional level, how to properly manage clients’ personal information and documents, and this year, how to adapt and improvise during a global pandemic.