April 08, 2016
NEWBURGH, N.Y. -
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
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
“It’s great to have the students in so many of the sites,” he
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
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
“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.