Students Volunteer to Help Residents Make the Ends Meet

In East Iberville, Louisiana, local residents come to the high school and the Belfair Baptist Church to have their taxes prepared for free—by students.  Each tax season, over 20 high school students, trained by the Rural School and Community Trust and certified by the IRS, assist hundreds of people with their taxes. 
Kiwandria Frazier was one of the youth tax preparers.  “I enjoy helping people with their taxes,” said the 10th grader.  “Some come in a little skeptical, but leave very happy,” she said. “Especially if I tell them they will get money back.”
Not only was she well trained to prepare and file tax returns, Kiwandria helped people maximize their income.  During interviews, she determined if her clients qualified for the Earned Income Tax Credit.  If so, Kiwandria made sure it was claimed, helping low-wealth, working families earn an average of $2,000 from the credit.
Each tax season, about two million eligible, working Mid Southerners are unaware of or fail to claim the EITC. What does this mean to you and your community? By claiming the credit, low-income working families could bring an estimated $4 billion extra dollars to the region to maximize their annual incomes, save, or boost the local economy.
By March, students had already filed over $200,000 in returns for tax filers—approximately $50,000 more than the year before.  Students saved 450 local residents an estimated $60,000 in tax preparation fees, in addition to the amount in returns.