Lutgert Students answer call for Voluntary Income Tax Assistance
When tax season comes around in Southwest Florida, Accounting and other Lutgert business majors volunteer their time and knowledge to help low-income, disabled, and non-English speakers file their income tax returns. To align with social distancing and other COVID safety restrictions, this year’s Voluntary Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program was conducted predominantly via 19 designated drive-through sites in Lee, Hendry, Glades, Okeechobee, and Charlotte counties.
“For me, the best thing about the program is helping people who need it most,” says junior Joseph Uecker, who volunteered twice weekly at the United Way Main drive-by site in Fort Myers. Uecker helped one client, a single mother raising three children, receive a refund of more than $1,000 over what she was expecting. While this year’s numbers aren’t yet tallied, last year the FGCU students involved in the VITA program prepared approximately 330 tax returns and generated approximately $95,000 in tax prep savings and $44,000 in refunds.