Published on June 21st, 2015 | by Millennium Magazine Staff


District Five teacher, students recognized by IRS for community service

Irmo High School teacher Carolyn Searles and students from her finance class show Community Service Leadership Certificates they received from the Internal Revenue Service. 

IRMO – An Irmo High School teacher and her students have been recognized by the Internal Revenue Service for providing free tax help to low income residents.

Carolyn Searles and students from her finance class were presented with the agency’s Community Service Leadership Certificate recently for services they provided during the past filing season through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. Serving as an official site for free tax preparation, Irmo High School was one of few schools nationwide to have free tax assistance offered by high school students.

“There is tremendous need in this area for free tax help,” Joyce L. Robbins, Senior Stakeholder Partnerships Tax Consultant, said in a letter from the agency. “The free tax services provided by Irmo High School thanks to Ms. Searles and her students were a significant contribution to the community. To the best of my knowledge, this was the only free tax assistance in the state offered by high school students. We at the Internal Revenue Service are especially proud of their achievements.”

Through the VITA program, IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to people who generally make $53,000 or less, persons with disabilities, elderly taxpayers and limited English speaking residents. At Irmo High School, students prepared returns for individuals meeting the program criteria, including students at the school who work part-time jobs.

“Many students who work part time are not aware that they should file tax returns or how they would file tax returns,” Searles said. “Through our efforts, students were informed and elated to learn that they could receive a check from the IRS upon filing their tax return at no cost…it was an honor to receive this recognition and to serve as an official site for free tax preparation for our community.”

Irmo High School Assistant Principal for Instruction Karen Hampton added, “This is another example of our school’s commitment to serving the community…Our students received important experience that may one day lead to careers, our school continued its efforts to reach out to the community and taxpayers in our area received important help in preparing their taxes. It was a win-win situation for all involved.”






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