VITA Celebrates Tenth Year

By Alaister McFarren

On Wednesday, Jan. 23, Grace College celebrated the tenth year of its Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program by throwing a public reception.  Held at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center, the event was attended by such luminaries as Grace College’s own Dr. Bill Katip, Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer and President Rob Parker of the Kosciusko County Chamber of Commerce.

“The VITA program is an excellent outreach program for Grace College and students,” said Dr. Alan Grossnickle, associate professor of business at Grace. “The program helps many people in the Kosciusko community and gives [Grace business] students great client interaction in a real-world setting. We are grateful for over 35 student volunteers who provided tax preparation, quality review, administrative and leadership duties this year. Ben Hough and Mallory Disher are the student leaders responsible for the program this year; they have done a terrific job.”

VITA, a program that offers free tax preparation for those with an income under $54,000 dollars (often the elderly and disabled), is run by volunteers who make the operation possible.  Volunteers typically include certified public accountants, Grace College business students and professors. The event is sponsored by the William P. Gordon Institute for Enterprise Development at the Grace College School of Business and United Way of Kosciusko County.

Since its 2010 origins, the program has assisted approximately 1,500 people and brought over $2.5 million dollars back into Kosciusko County, according to Dr. Katip.  After assisting 344 people in 2018, even higher numbers are anticipated this tax season. The program sports an accuracy rating in the upper ninetieth percentile and has had only perfect audits with the Internal Revenue Service.