Elon Law's tax assistance clinic begins third year of service
Twenty students from Elon University School of Law began offering free tax preparation assistance to low and moderate-income residents in the region on March 6. The program, which assisted clients in obtaining more than $45,000 in tax refunds and credits last year, will continue through April 15.
Offered through the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, Elon Law's tax clinic helps to save taxpayers money on tax preparation fees, get fast and accurate refunds, and make sure individuals and families get tax credits for which they are eligible.
Those eligible for the program include families and individuals of low to moderate-income (generally, $49,000 and below), individuals with disabilities, and the elderly. Click here for information on how to schedule an appointment.
The Greensboro Bar Association awarded Elon Law students with the association's annual pro bono award for their work on the tax clinic last year.
Elon Law professor and faculty advisor for the VITA clinic, Andy Haile, said the program continues to grow in the number of clients served, reflecting the commitment that Elon Law students have to serving those in the region with the greatest needs.
"Student leadership has built this program from a handful of clients the first year, to a program that now in its third year is starting to have an appreciable impact on our community," Haile said. "Through the program, the law school also continues to develop ties with other organizations, including Legal Aid. The relationships with these groups help the law school to connect the talents of our students with the needs of the community. Our students benefit from the experience of helping members of our community, and the community benefits from our students’ leadership and service."
Haile also thanked Elon Law alumnus Andrew Ackley, who led the student-run tax clinic last year and served as an organizer for the clinic this year, and Esther Dallmann and Renee Gabriel-Alford, with the Greensboro office of Legal Aid of North Carolina, for their significant contributions to the success of the program.
Third-year law student Andrew Hogan, serving as the student director for the program this year, said law students found the experience highly rewarding.
"The VITA program helps others in our community get the tax refunds they deserve without the expense of paying a tax professional a significant amount in the process," Hogan said. "It is also important for Elon law students specifically because Greensboro has given so much to make Elon School of Law possible, therefore we have an obligation to give back to the city that has given us so much."
Other leading law student organizers for the 2010 tax clinic include: Justin Kay, Jeremy Maddox, and Austin Morris.
Additional law students participating in the clinic include: Megan Connole, Alvaro de la Calle, Krystle Deus, Josh Howell, Lu Johnson, Adam Levy, Hasina Lewis, Andrew Poltorak, Kristin Rice, Stephen Shaw, Mike Sprague, Meghan Varner, Maggy Vaughn, and Gabe Zeller.