Law Student Volunteers Provide Tax Assistance

January 21, 2016

Touro Law students are volunteering to provide free tax help to low and moderate income community members who need help preparing their tax returns through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program. Through this public service project, sponsored by the United States Internal Revenue Service and overseen by Bethpage Federal Credit Union, more than 20 student volunteers have been trained and can file tax returns directly from the law school, a designated site for the program. This is the sixth year Touro Law students have participated in the project.

“Our students are combining the knowledge they learn in the classroom with specialized training and giving their time to help members of the community in need,” stated Dean Patricia Salkin. “The students are not only honing their skills in tax law but also in client relations. This is a great program for both our students and the community members they serve.”

Touro Law’s VITA office is located in the William Randolph Hearst Public Advocacy Center, on the second floor of the law school and operates on Tuesdays from 4:00 – 7:00 pm from February 2nd through April 9th. Touro Law students are also volunteering at Bethpage Federal Credit Union in Bay Shore and Central Islip on Saturdays from 3:00 – 6:00 pm. Clients are welcome to schedule appointments via email at vita@tourolaw.edu or by calling (631) 650-2330. 

Residents interested in participating in the program are asked to bring: photo identification; social security cards for individuals, spouses and family members; current year’s tax package if you received one, wage and earning statement(s) Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R, from all employers; interest and dividend statements from banks (Forms 1099); a copy of last year’s Federal and State returns if available; bank routing numbers and account numbers for direct deposit; total paid for day care; day care providers identifying number. Please note: to file taxes electronically on a married filing joint tax return, both spouses must be present.

Touro Law third-year student Jeannette Villeda, who coordinates the program and has participated since her first year of law school stated, "I volunteered for the VITA Program when I first began law school and I simply could not leave. I enjoyed the satisfaction I received from helping members of the community file their taxes for free. So many people express how thankful they are - stating how that tax return will allow them to pay their rent that month or buy their child a toy they wanted. It really is a rewarding experience and it is nice to do good for the community. I am thankful I have the opportunity to participate in this amazing program."
 
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Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center’s 185,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art law school is located adjacent to both a state and a federal courthouse in Central Islip, New York. Touro Law’s proximity to the courthouses, coupled with programming developed to integrate the courtroom into the classroom, provide a one-of-a kind learning model for law students, combining a rigorous curriculum taught by expert faculty with a practical courtroom experience. Touro Law, which has a student body of approximately 650 and an alumni base of more than 6,000, offers full- and part-time J.D. programs, several dual degree programs and graduate law programs for US and foreign law graduates. Touro Law Center is part of the Touro College system.

Touro Law’s newly implemented Portals to Practice is a cutting-edge, experiential learning program that reconceives and restructures the law school experience. Portals to Practice expands the scope and quality of legal education by focusing on the development of legal professionals, from pre-law through post-graduation. 

About the Touro College and University System 
Touro is a system of non-profit institutions of higher and professional education. Touro College was chartered in 1970 primarily to enrich the Jewish heritage, and to serve the larger American and global community. Approximately 19,000 students are currently enrolled in its various schools and divisions. Touro College has branch campuses, locations and instructional sites in the New York area, as well as branch campuses and programs in Berlin, Jerusalem, Moscow, Paris and Florida. New York Medical College, Touro University California and its Nevada branch campus, as well as Touro University Worldwide and its Touro College Los Angeles division are separately accredited institutions within the Touro College and University System. For further information on Touro College, please go to: http://www.touro.edu/media/.

For more info contact:
Patti Desrochers
Director of Communications
pattid@tourolaw.edu
(631) 761-7062

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