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Students Help Generate $1 Million-Plus in Income Tax Refunds for Area Residents

SPOKANE, Wash. – For the fourth consecutive year, Gonzaga University accounting and economics students working with the IRS and United Way have helped generate more than $1 million in refunds through their free income tax return preparation efforts for low- and middle-income Spokane residents. Students from Eastern Washington University and Whitworth University joined the efforts.

The United Way’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site, which was staffed by 70 IRS-certified student volunteers from Gonzaga along with nine from EWU and eight from Whitworth, filed 793 electronic and paper returns and generated $1.09 million in total refunds, said Andrew Brajcich, Gonzaga assistant professor of accounting.

This year’s effort included a total of more than 851 hours of volunteer service by GU students.

Gonzaga students who deserve special recognition for their extra work include: Cole Garcia, Molly Steilen, Carter Padgham, and Divin Kanyama, Brajcich said.

“Thanks to all of our student volunteers,” Brajcich said.

VITA provides Gonzaga students the opportunity to implement many of the concepts they learn in class while providing a community service. Many VITA clients would have had difficulty obtaining much-needed refunds if such services were not offered. To volunteer, Gonzaga students attended two full days of training over a holiday weekend and then passed a certification exam.

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