This year, Cayuga Community College accounting students filed 888 returns for Cayuga County residents, bringing in $1.7 million in federal, state, and earned income credit refunds through the United Way Creating Assets, Savings and Hope (CA$H) program. This brings the total from the past eight years to 4,400 tax returns resulting in approximately $8 million in refunds for Cayuga County residents.
This year’s filings represent an increase of 18 percent from last year. Within that total, students helped working people with low to moderate income levels receive approximately $700,000 in Earned Income Tax Credit, translating into more money in their pockets.
“I partner with the United Way on this project because it provides my students with real-life experience and teaches them about giving back to the community they live, work, and attend school in,” said Accounting Professor Dawn Matijas Czolowski. “It also gives the students first-hand understanding of providing tax services to the public, something they would be doing on the job. This program would not be possible without all the hard work and dedication of Kathy Krasniak and Joann Cross of the United Way, who are wonderful mentors to my students.”
Students enroll in a 1-credit Income Tax Internship course and volunteer a minimum of three hours a week with the CA$H program. In completing this internship, the students can list this experience on their resumes as Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, a program under the Internal Revenue Service.
Czolowski was particularly pleased that the students had an error rate of less than 1 percent in the returns that they helped file.
“All students who participate are glad they did and indicate they learned a lot,” Czolowski said. “One student commented that Tuesday morning (when he volunteered for the program) was his favorite day of the week. The community response to the student volunteers is very positive. They are so very grateful for the program.”