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April Can Be a Taxing Time for Some but Not for the VITA Volunteers

March 2019
  • From left: Benjamin Aryeh Marcela Rivas, Eduardo Rivas and Mauro DePasquale
    QCC student Trustee Benjamin Aryeh, QCC student Marcela Rivas, Admissions Enrollment Counselor Eduardo Rivas and WCCA Executive Director, Mauro DePasquale discuss the VITA program on "Soapbox," a program on WCCA TV, "The People's Channel 194."

As March gives way to April and the weather turns nicer, many people begin to think about their taxes. Not a pleasant thing for most of us, but the folks in Eduardo Rivas’s new tax assistance course may think otherwise.

Mr. Rivas is the Admissions Enrollment Counselor and Adjunct Faculty at QCC He is also the Volunteer Tax Assistance (VITA) Coordinator at QCC, a program that offers free tax preparation and electronic filing to low and moderate income families who make less than $54,000 or less. This year Mr. Rivas has worked with the college to establish a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance course that introduces students to concepts and languages of the IRS and taxation. Students in the course learned these concepts in the first two weeks of class and became certified tax preparers, before volunteering to prepare federal and state taxes for low-income individuals in Worcester. The course requires students to complete 12, three-hour volunteer sessions at Main South Community Development Corporation. While still in its infancy stages, the inaugural course has already garnered a lot of attention, particularly from QCC business majors.

“I chose to participate because it allows me to gain working experience while preparing taxes for individuals. Furthermore, it is a great opportunity to give back to the community by volunteering my services,” said Business Administration Transfer student Odette Carty-Bleary said.

Business Administration Transfer student Rebeka Mehmeti said volunteering to prepare taxes was a great opportunity for people to get experience in the field of tax preparation.

“I hope to gain some accounting knowledge and gain some experience on how to handle customers,” she said.

Currently there are four locations that offer this service through the Worcester Free Tax Service Coalition: the Worcester Community Action Council, Inc., Main South Community Development Corporation (CDC), Plumley Village and Worcester State University. Mr. Rivas was also able to work with Worcester Housing Authority to offer a one tax predation event at Great Book Valley Apartments. Most of his students also volunteered at the event.

“We prepared income taxes for close to 40 clients,” Mr. Rivas said.

Mr. Rivas and two of his student volunteers, QCC Trustee and student Benjamin Aryeh and QCC student Marcela Rivas recently went on the WCCA TV produced "Soapbox" show, hosted by WCCA Executive Director, Mauro DePasquale to explain the VITA program and how it works.

“We now have 34 volunteers who are QCC students and community volunteers,” Mr. Rivas said. “As of the last report we have prepared the second most returns of the four sites in Worcester,” he said.

All the volunteers said giving back to the community was paramount.

“If someone is considering being part of this volunteer program, I would tell them to do it. This is a great experience to have not only for your school or resume, but for yourself.”

To learn more about volunteering or income tax assistance, visit VITA program. Read QCC's Beginners guide to tax forms.