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MHS Academy of Finance offering free tax preparation service

February 14, 2013

AOF student takes online IRS examThe Monticello High School Academy of Finance (AOF) is offering a free tax preparation service for individuals whose gross income was no more than $50,000 in 2012.

This service is available from February 18-April 10 on Mondays and Wednesdays from 2:15-4:30 p.m., as well as Saturday, February 23 and Saturday, March 16 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Monticello High School. This service is being offered by appointment only. For more information about this program, call AOF director Wendy Levinson at 794-8840 ext. 10848.

This is the sixth year the AOF has provided this service. In 2012, students prepared approximately 100 tax returns. This experience provides the students with the opportunity to use their knowledge in a real life situation and provides them with an experience that connects them with the adult community of our district. It is a confidence builder for the AOF students as they move toward being independent adults. The students assume the challenge and push themselves beyond their comfort zones. It also shows them the value of socially responsible behavior because their skills and knowledge are being used to assist members of the community in which they live.

AOF student takes online IRS examThrough the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, Monticello High School Academy of Finance students get certified by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to prepare income taxes. Students become certified by taking an on-line IRS exam. The AOF Financial Decision Making classes are being prepared for the exam by business teacher Susan Bahrenburg, who is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Students passing the exam, receive a certificate indicating their capacity to perform the service. There is a quality review process where all returns are double checked before submission. In addition to learning about tax preparation, the students in Wendy Levinson’s AOF communications class develop marketing materials and all of the necessary communication to inform the school community of the service and our hours of operation. Eric Shewmaker, a Monticello High School Math teacher, also takes part in assisting the students as they prepare the tax returns for the public.

This is an example of team effort where Academy of Finance teachers Wendy Levinson and Susan Bahrenburg and mathematics teacher Eric Shewmaker support the students as they provide this service. The students are able to take part in and observe a coordinated effort, which results in providing a service for our community.