Business Students Gain Hands-on Tax Prep Experience


More than 30 student and alumni volunteers from the Wright School of Business have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience by helping community members prepare and electronically file their state and federal tax returns.

Student volunteers will be offering tax prep services to the public at the Georgia United Credit Union on Fridays from 5:30 – 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, services are limited and by appointment only. Services are free and COVID-19 safety guidelines will be in place. The service will be offered to Dalton State students and staff also. 

These services are part of the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program’s partnership with the Georgia United Credit Union. VITA supports underserved individuals and communities by partnering with various organizations to offer free tax preparation services. This year marks VITA’s 10th year of service in the Dalton area. Its partnership with the Georgia United Credit Union not only benefits community members by offering tax prep services, but it also provides an opportunity to gain hands-on experience for many business students. 

“The VITA program is a valuable opportunity for our accounting majors to apply the skills and knowledge from the classroom to benefit our community,” said Dr. Marilyn Helms, dean of Wright School of Business. 

This year, 10 professional development student volunteers, 20 accounting student volunteers and seven alumni volunteers will work under faculty guidance to provide tax prep services to community members. Students from the professional development course will serve as receptionists, greeters and managers, while accounting students will take a short course and certify with the IRS before helping prepare taxes for individuals and families. 

By applying their unique skill sets in a real-world environment, students will have the opportunity to gain practical work experience and build their resumes. Students can gain volunteer hours and have access to valuable credentialing through the IRS program certification required to prepare and file taxes. 

“Participating in VITA makes our accounting majors more valuable to employers,” Helms said.  

“It’s a great opportunity for these students to learn more about volunteering and to become excited about potential accounting and business careers.” 

In 2020, student volunteers completed and filed over 600 tax returns from late January through mid-March. This year, the more than 30 student and alumni volunteers will continue to serve their community, and in doing so, will gain invaluable hands-on experience that will serve as an entry point to potential careers.