Transforming Lives Through UB's IRS-Sponsored Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program

VITA Site Coordinators 2022.

Make a positive impact on the lives of WNY families by actively participating in the UB Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program sponsored by the IRS. 

Project description

This project presents a unique opportunity for students to directly make a positive impact on the lives of WNY families in need. Its primary objective is to aid qualified WNY families in complying with their individual tax returns and accessing essential tax credits that can significantly boost their annual income. Beyond acquiring valuable skills in tax preparation and client interaction, participants also play a pivotal role in advancing the broader mission supported by the IRS to mitigate economic disparities. Through active involvement, students can become IRS Certified Advanced Preparers for VITA, lead training sessions for VITA volunteers, and collaborate closely with the Site Coordinator to deliver exceptional customer service to clients, thereby making a meaningful difference in the community. 

Project outcome

Potential achievement of a "Community Engagement" badge is contingent upon fulfilling four mandatory components:

1) Volunteer Contribution: Students are required to complete IRS-mandated training for certification as volunteers and commit to a minimum of 20 volunteer hours at the VITA site.

2) Contribution to Management of VITA Site: Students must actively contribute to the effective operation of the VITA site in at least one of the following aspects:
a) Attaining the IRS Certified Advanced Preparer status for VITA and serve the site as either “Advanced Preparer” or “Reviewer”
b) Facilitating training sessions for VITA volunteers.
c) Collaborating effectively with the Site Coordinator to provide excellent customer service to clients.

3) Evaluations: To qualify, students should receive an above-average rating from all Site Coordinators based on their performance in any of the previously mentioned capacities. Additionally, students are encouraged to seek evaluations from clients at the VITA site using a provided template. This rating serves as a testament to the student's dedication and effectiveness in contributing to the VITA site.

4) Final Project Outcome PowerPoint (which will be linked with the “Community Engagement” badged posted on student’s LinkedIn profile):
o Project title and student's name. (1 slide)
o Description of what they accomplished. (1 slide)
o Acknowledgment of the individuals or groups they collaborated with. (1 slide)
o Highlights of their contributions (1-3 slides).
o The impact of their work on the community (1-2 slide).
o A total of 5-8 slides showcasing their achievements.

Project details

Timing, eligibility and other details
Length of commitment Less than a semester
Start time Spring (January/February)
In-person, remote, or hybrid? In-Person Project
Level of collaboration Small Group Project (2-3 students)
Benefits Experience
Who is eligible All undergraduate students 

Project mentor

Cassie Nguyen

Clinical Assistant Professor

Accounting & Law (School of Management)

Phone: (716) 645-3269


Start the project

  1. Email the project mentor using the contact information above to express your interest and get approval to work on the project. (Here are helpful tips on how to contact a project mentor.)
  2. After you receive approval from the mentor to start this project, click the button to start the digital badge. (Learn more about ELN's digital badge options.) 

Preparation activities

Once you begin the digital badge series, you will have access to all the necessary activities and instructions. Your mentor has indicated they would like you to also complete the specific preparation activities below. Please reference this when you get to Step 2 of the Preparation Phase. 

  1. Email Professor Nguyen at to get started
  2. Complete IRS-mandated training for certification as volunteers (typically offered in late January / early February)


tax, accounting, finance, personal finance, financial wellness, WNY families, customer service, community engagement, Accounting & Law (School of Management)