Mount students make taxes less taxing for area residents

April 08, 2016


Regina Taylor, a 1997 Mount Saint Mary College graduate, mentors current Mount accounting student Christopher Sagan of West Hempstead, N.Y. in tax preparation. Both Taylor and Sagan are volunteers of the TaxAide program, which provides free tax preparation for local middle- and low-income families.


With Tax Day looming, Mount Saint Mary College accounting students are providing free tax preparation for local middle- and low-income families.

The assistance program is a partnership between the AARP TaxAide Foundation, the Mid-Hudson CASH Coalition, and the United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region.

Now in its fifth year of involvement, the Mount provided 16 student volunteers. The students trained for at least 40 hours though classroom work with AARP certified instructors and self-study, then passed an IRS certification exam.

Mount students serve their community in donated space at Newburgh Ministry, St. Andrew’s Church in Walden, N.Y., Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union in Newburgh, N.Y., Mulberry Senior Center in Middletown, N.Y., King of Kings Lutheran Church in New Windsor, N.Y., and more. There are 35 preparation centers between Orange and Dutchess counties.

More than 7,100 returns were prepared last year thought the program, leading to nearly $6 million returned in the form of tax credits and refunds.

Dave Weaving, the Hudson Valley CASH Coalition coordinator, said he was pleased to see Mount Saint Mary College and other local institutions “participating in a very significant way with this program.”

“It’s great to have the students in so many of the sites,” he said.

As in years previous, the Mount’s Career Center was a driving force in the success of the Tax Aide program. Kathleen O’Keefe, associate director of the Center, served on Tax Aide Planning Committee and monitored Mount volunteer success.

The Career Center prepares students for varied career opportunities in the Hudson Valley, New York City, the Capital Region, and beyond.

Christopher Sagan of West Hempstead, N.Y., Nicholas Buzzonetti of Monroe, N.Y., and Samuel Watson of Groton, Conn. lend their accounting skills to the effort at Newburgh Free Library.

After his first session at the library, Buzzonetti noted how grateful his clients were to receive his guidance.

“I underestimated how good it would feel being part of this,” he said.

Sagan, who’s looking to go into the accounting field, said he learned about the program through Watson, who had volunteered last year as well.

“This is the perfect program for me,” Sagan explained. “It’s good face to face work to do to prepare me for my field, and I love just helping people.”

Mentoring Sagan was Regina Taylor, herself a 1997 Mount graduate. Taylor volunteered for the program through the AARP TaxAide Foundation.

“I enjoy doing income taxes,” she explained. “I think it’s fun and a challenge. But this is also about serving the community and giving the current Mount students some tax prep pointers.”

Other Mount students sharing their accounting techniques are Brianna Bartlett of Gardiner, N.Y.; Matthew D’Addario of Hopewell Junction, N.Y.; Justin Perez of Washingtonville, N.Y.; Luisa Sanchez of Newburgh, N.Y.; Peter Greco of Canaan,, Conn.; Janice Nunziato of Warwick, N.Y.; Christopher Jaros of Marlboro, N.Y.; Blake Keenan of Fishkill, N.Y.; Jessica Lanning of Hicksville, N.Y.; Kayla McBride of Bridgeport, Conn.; Danielle Soto of Miller Place, N.Y.; Charles Szczesny of Liverpool, N.Y.; and Jessica Tobar of Beacon, N.Y.

Mount alumni participating through the college include Trevor Pungello ’13, MBA ’14, and Kathrine Morey ‘15 of Fishkill, N.Y.