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MHS Academy of Finance offers free tax preparation service

Feb. 5, 2016

Is your 2015 income $54,000 or less? Are you undecided about where to have your taxes done? The Monticello High School Academy of Finance (AOF) can help! The AOF is offering a free tax preparation service for individuals whose gross income was no more than $54,000 in 2015.

This service is available at Monticello High School from February 6-April 13, 2016, by appointment only. Individuals may also bring their tax information to the One-Stop Center at 50 North Street in Monticello for drop off.

For information, contact Academy of Finance Director Susan Bahrenburg at (845) 794-8840 x10849. The AOF has provided this service for the past eight years. Students have prepared hundreds of returns for community members through VITA, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. Last year, students completed 150 tax returns for local residents! In order for AOF students to become tax preparers, they must first be certified by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Once they pass an online IRS exam, they earn a certificate indicating their capacity to perform this service. The service gives students the chance to use their knowledge in a real life situation and provides them with an experience that connects them with the adult community in our district. It is also a confidence builder, as the AOF students move toward being independent adults and push themselves beyond their comfort zones. It also shows them the value of socially responsible behavior by assisting members of their community with a daunting task – taxes.

“This is an incredibly meaningful activity for our kids to give back to their community," Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Director of the MHS Academy of Finance, Susan Bahrenburg, said. "It is directly connected with the curriculum and the AOF students, given that they are preparing tax returns for our community residents, feel really good about themselves when the program is finished. They see the benefit of VITA and they also feel good about what they are able to do for the people in their community. It's a win-win all the way around."

 All returns prepared through the VITA program are subject to a final quality review process where they are checked by program supervisors before submission. To make an appointment or to learn more about the service and hours of operation, as well as to determine if you qualify for this service, contact Academy of Finance Director Susan Bahrenburg at 794-8840 ext. 10849.