LSU Laws Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program won the 2005 Best Continuing VITA Site Award presented by the American Bar Associations (ABA) Student Division in August. The award recognizes outstanding VITA efforts at ABA-approved law schools and takes into account student participation, number of years in existence, number of returns prepared, and the students originality, ingenuity, and motivation in providing service to the community and publicizing such programs.
Faculty director Susan Kalinka and Tax Club co-presidents Carla Sibille and Michael Arton led the way this year as law students helped 306 taxpayers accurately prepare their forms. Professor Kalinka, coordinator of the site since 1999, met with IRS and State Revenue representatives to ensure the site was properly equipped, worked to initiate new outreach programs to advertise the site, and extended her thanks to everyone who made it possible for the students to win the award. Tax Club co-presidents Carla Sibille and Michael Arton worked hard and were present every day that the Law Center’s VITA site was open. Carla was the chief student organizer and worked very hard to ensure we won the award, said Kalinka. Kalinka also created training materials for students, volunteers, and supervising coordinators and ensured that appropriate IRS rules were followed.
Professor Chris Pietruszkiewicz, who held a training session for the student workers, commended our students and says the LSU Law School program stands out among ABA schools. He noted, The LSU VITA program is unique in that it is one of a select number of VITA sites that prepares nonresident tax returns for international students and scholars on the LSU campus and in the Baton Rouge community.