WV Alliance for Sustainable Families Recognizes FSU VITA Volunteers

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

The West Virginia Alliance for Sustainable Families recently presented Fairmont State University with its Higher Education Partner of the Year Award to honor volunteer service by the FSU School of Business.

Mary A. “Dede” Burnell, CPA, Coordinator of Accounting and Finance and Associate Professor of Accounting and Finance, attended an awards luncheon at West Virginia State University in Institute to receive the award on behalf of FSU. For the past several years, Accounting students, supervised by Dr. T. Jean Engebretson, CPA, have provided free basic tax return preparation for eligible taxpayers as part of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.

“The work that we have seen from the VITA program at FSU has been tremendous,” said Jennifer Thacker, Executive Director of the West Virginia Alliance for Sustainable Families. “The students work tirelessly to provide free tax preparation to those in need and have served such a large portion of the Fairmont community with their volunteer work. We were so grateful for their efforts and could not have imagined a better recipient for this award.”

FSU student volunteers have a responsibility to provide high quality service and uphold the highest of ethical standards. The student volunteers receive training and certification from the IRS to help prepare basic tax returns in North Central West Virginia communities. Many taxpayers return each year and refer their friends and neighbors to the FSU VITA program.

“The VITA program is an effective community outreach service of the School of Business. In 2012, students in the Fairmont State VITA program prepared more than 1,200 federal and state tax returns. The students work long hours and travel to many locations to provide this free service. Their level of expertise and professionalism is routinely praised by the participants. The goodwill generated for the School of Business is immeasurable,” said Dr. Richard Harvey, Dean of the School of Business.

The West Virginia Alliance for Sustainable Families serves as an important voice for West Virginia’s working families. The WVASF coordinates research, education, advocacy and coalition building on issues related to asset building and economic stability. The WVASF also leads Earned Income Tax credit awareness throughout the state. The mission of the WVASF is to increase access to asset building opportunities and improve economic security for low- to moderate-income West Virginia families.

The WVASF is the statewide leader building capacity for seven regional EITC coalitions providing Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and EITC outreach, establishing strategic partnerships and providing promotional materials and resources. For more information about the WVASF, visit www.wvasf.org.

For more information about the programs of the Fairmont State University School of Business, click here.