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ND students provide tax aid to community

Steve Kerins | Tuesday, February 1, 2005

Accounting students from Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s will be participating in Notre Dame’s 34th annual Vivian Harrington Gray Tax Assistance Program (TAP) starting Feb. 7.According to Ken Milani, accountancy professor and program coordinator, student volunteers will provide assistance with state and local tax returns to individuals in the local community who earned less than $35,000 in the past year. Students involved are familiar with U.S. tax law and there is no charge for the service, which is supported by funds from the Mendoza College of Business and supplies provided by the Internal Revenue Service and the Indiana Department of Revenue.TAP will continue through April 14, but will not operate during spring break and the Easter holiday.Currently, student volunteers are preparing to open sites and begin their work. “We’re moving right along in schedule,” student director Zach Wiggins said. “We’re taking care of logistic things right now.”This year, 11 centers will be open in the South Bend area, including locations at the Notre Dame Center for Social Concerns and Saint Mary’s Haggar Hall. “There’s one new center in the near northwest neighborhood that we’re operating,” Wiggins said. Interested taxpayers can bring copies of their federal and state tax returns from last year and any other relevant documents, such as real estate taxes, personal property taxes, medical bills and charitable contributions, necessary for calculating itemized deductions, Wiggins said.Those with more complicated tax problems are encouraged to come to TAP’s four major centers – the River Park, La Salle, downtown branches of the St. Joseph Public Library or the Mishawaka-Penn Public Library, and certified public accountants will be on hand at these locations. Additionally, individual on-site help is available to people unable to visit a TAP location, according to Wiggins.Last year, the program’s volunteers filed more than 3,300 tax returns for Michiana residents, and organizers expect a similar turnout this year. “I think the way professor Milani has it set up, it’s pretty similar from year to year,” Wiggins said.