With tax season adding stress to the lives of many Americans, the accounting department at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School is lending a helping hand to low income people in the community—and educating students at the same time. The department was recently recognized by the United Way with their Community Impact Award for the class “Special Topics in Tax—Federal Taxation of Low Income Filers: Socio-Economic Forces,” which requires students to spend 54 volunteer hours assisting low income people to file their federal taxes.

James Benjamin (right) receives an award on behalf of the accounting department from United Way of Brazos Valley CEO Hank Roraback.
James Benjamin (right) receives an award on behalf of the accounting department from United Way of Brazos Valley CEO Hank Roraback.

The class, taught by Adam Meyers, helps students understand federal income tax legislation, its impact on low-income filers, and the socio-economic forces at work. Some learning takes place in the classroom, but the majority of the content is mastered through community service hours helping those that make $50,000 or less to file their taxes.

“We are delighted to have the opportunity to provide an important service to members of our community and, at the same time, to give a real world learning experience to our students,” said James Benjamin, head of the Department of Accounting at Mays. “I appreciate the time that Adam Myers has devoted to the start up of this initiative and I hope that we can significantly expand the number of students participating next year. We were honored to be recognized by the United Way.”

The award was presented to Benjamin at the United Way annual recognition lunch on March 11. “The addition of these students to our community tax-preparing volunteers allowed us to increase the scope of the program,” said Kay Parker, vice president for community impact for United Way of the Brazos Valley. “The Texas A&M Department of Accounting has offered us an invaluable tool: students receiving class credit for helping us help our neighbors in need. The students, who have become IRS certified tax preparers have been awesome and have all done an amazing job helping us out this year.”

This is the first semester that this course has been offered at Mays. The 12 students enrolled volunteer on evenings and weekends in Bryan as well as the neighboring communities of Navasota, Brenham, Centerville, Sanderson Farms, Somerville, and Madisonville.

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