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BHSU and Spearfish library collaboration honored by IRS


Pictured from left to right, Andrea Bakeberg, program assistant for the BHSU College of Business and Natural Sciences;  Zach Van Sambeek, professional accountancy major from Hermosa; Stephanie Brewer, library assistant; Liz Diers, assistant professor of accounting and VITA Coordinator, Amber Wilde, library director;  Becky Kidder-Giles, professional accountancy major from Buffalo; Hannah Burtt, VITA volunteer and administrative assistant for the College of Business and Natural Sciences;  David Nickel, tax payer; and Sarah Burtt, business administration-accounting major from Newell.

The Grace Balloch Memorial Library was recently honored by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for its ten years of dedication as a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site. For the past decade, the library has been collaborating with Black Hills State University to provide tax assistance to primarily low income and elderly individuals.

During tax season, BHSU students taking Advanced Income Tax spend several hours on Saturdays participating in the VITA program. This program offers free tax assistance to people who generally make $52,000 or less, persons with disabilities, the elderly, and limited English speaking taxpayers. This year, Liz Diers, BHSU assistant professor of accounting, and nine students assisted in preparing more than 200 federal tax returns.  These returns brought in nearly $200,000 worth of refunds to the Black Hills area and saved tax payers approximately $20,000 in tax preparation fees. Diers and Amber Wilde of the Grace Balloch Memorial Library plan to continue and expand services provided through VITA as part of this collaboration.

Diers, one behalf of the IRS, presented the library with a certificate of appreciation for their dedicated service to the program.

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