Accounting files tax reports for staff through VITA

Lindsay Steinberg, Copy Chief

Accounting at OHS is entering its second year of a program that was developed in order to help various staff members throughout the school district, while also greatly expanding the knowledge of the students involved. The three year program takes a student through various helpful concepts and certifications that are desired by employers, all in order to help students prepare for their futures. 

The program is run by CTE teacher Tiffany Kurtz, who teaches Accounting and Advanced Accounting. Kurtz also aids in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA), which is available to students in their third year of accounting. 

“Accounting at O’Connor is a three year program, so in year one we do basic accounting concepts and we also do payroll accounting so anybody who plans to receive a paycheck at some point has plenty of content they can learn from year one,” Kurtz said.

As the program develops, not only does it offer valuable knowledge, but it also allows students to obtain certifications that are desirable to the labor force. 

“Year two is more advanced accounting concepts and we also cover Quickbooks, so students are able to get Quickbooks certified, which is a highly sought after certification that industry professionals really like to see,” Kurtz said. 

The third and final year of the program is when a beneficial opportunity opens up to anyone in accounting, that opportunity being VITA. In VITA, students are paired with staff members and prepare their tax returns for them. “The third year is our capstone year of the program and we run the IRS’ Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA) so students are certified through the IRS to be able to prepare basic tax returns,” Kurtz said. 

From a student’s perspective, they found the program beneficial to their own future. 

“I did [a tax report] for a teacher at Barry Goldwater. Her’s weren’t too complicated so it wasn’t bad,” said Matthew Edelson, senior. “Now I know how to do taxes; it’s nice to have information because I wouldn’t have known half the stuff going into it.” 

The difficulty of the returns can vary, as it is not directly from a textbook, but rather an actual person you are doing real taxes for. With a real person behind each and every number, there is a variety of what a student will receive as their report. 

“I know some other people, they had a lot more complicated [tax returns], so it all depended on whose taxes you got,” Edelson said. 

For students who have been through the program, they all seem to come to one conclusion, it offers preparation for the future, so not only are students benefiting, but staff members are too. 

“I think it’s good to know about financial stability in life and to prepare me for my future so accounting is good for that,” said Josh Carlisle, senior.