January 7, 2019
NORTH ADAMS, MASS. — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) and its Department of Business Administration will partner with Habitat for Humanity to implement a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program to provide income tax assistance to local residents in need through a new internship program for business and accounting students at MCLA.

VITA, a program offered by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), offers this help to low income individuals, elderly taxpayers, and taxpayers with disabilities. Habitat for Humanity will administer this program.

According to Tara Barboza, assistant professor of accounting at MCLA – who also is an enrolled agent with the United States Department of the Treasury and a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) – the students who participate in this program will be IRS certified and work under her supervision.

In addition to meeting a significant need in Northern Berkshire County, Barboza said, “Participating in the VITA program is a unique opportunity that will provide students with valuable, hands-on preparation experience.”

Prior to their participating in this program, students will complete IRS training, test, and become certified to prepare returns. In addition, they will earn college credit. Accounting students can use this credit toward the requirements for the CPA exam.

In addition to Barboza, Dr. Thomas Whalen, president of the board of directors for Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity and an associate professor of business administration and economics at MCLA, as well as Professor James Moriarty, chair of MCLA’s Department of Business Administration, will participate in the program.

The VITA program offers free tax help to people who generally make $54,000 or less, persons with disabilities, and limited English-speaking taxpayers who need assistance to prepare their own tax returns.

Interested individuals should call Habitat for Humanity offices at (413) 442-0002 to find out if they qualify, and to schedule an appointment. Barboza and her students will begin to see clients on Feb. 9, 2019. The program will continue through April 15, 2019.

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) is the Commonwealth's public liberal arts college and a campus of the Massachusetts state university system. MCLA promotes excellence in learning and teaching, innovative scholarship, intellectual creativity, public service, applied knowledge, and active and responsible citizenship. MCLA graduates are prepared to be practical problem solvers and engaged, resilient global citizens.

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