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Accounting students provide free tax help to the community

Beta Alpha Psi members use their financial skills just in time for Tax Day

People doing calculations.
With help from the USC chapter, people were able to beat the deadline. (Photo/istock)

Tax day cometh. Fortunately, students at the USC Leventhal School of Accounting are ready to help.

The USC Iota Chapter of Beta Alpha Psi (BAP) is providing free tax assistance to the local community on a grand scale. Last year, members filed 643 returns and claimed $656,144 in tax refunds for their clients. This year, they’re on track to exceed those numbers, they say.

Members also help the hungry and the homeless, working with Junior Achievement to teach financial literacy to youth in local schools, said Rose Layton, professor of clinical accounting at USC Leventhal and faculty adviser to the international honor society of which she herself was a member as a student.

The BAP, which was established at USC in 1925, is the ninth chapter of 300 in the nation. More than 160 strong, the chapter reaches out to majors beyond accounting in the fields of finance and systems.

“Members of Beta Alpha Psi engage in a wide variety of small and large group activities that make them better overall business students,” Layton said. “BAP does a lot to develop the individual and help the community.”

The group’s goals, she said, include developing leadership skills as well as social and professional contacts.

Volunteer assistance

BAP members are currently busy with their USC Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offering free tax preparation services to individuals with low-to-moderate incomes.

BAP’s IRS-certified volunteers are trained by Deloitte, KPMG and PwC professionals to provide the highest standard of service to the community.

This tax season, they served more than 200 clients in the first three weeks and are on track to break last year’s record.

One week before tax day, they had assisted 618 families with their taxes, helping them claim $633,252 in refunds and $100,258 in taxes due.

“We’re expecting even more,” said Linwei Lin, past president of VITA.

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