IRS commends Bryan's SIFE initiative
May 15, 2009

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Financial Aid Director Rick Taphorn and Financial Aid Counselor Beth Hixson hold the IRS certificates, with Bryan President Stephen Livesay
A team of volunteers from Bryan College has been commended by the Internal Revenue Service for its support of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program.

Joseph Kotsis, tax consultant with the IRS office in Nashville, said VITA is designed to help low- and moderate-income individuals complete their federal tax returns.

Under Bryan financial aid director Rick Taphorn’s supervision, “the student volunteers completed the Link and Learn tax course, Taxwise tax return preparation software training and passed the tax certification exam,” Mr. Kotsis said in a letter to Bryan President Stephen Livesay. “In preparing 48 tax returns for students and taxpayers from the local community, they provided a valuable service, dealt with one of life’s realities and gained valuable work experience. They are to be commended for their community service spirit.”

Mr. Taphorn said students involved in the Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team volunteered for the program in the fall, spent their Christmas break and part of January studying, then took the IRS test at the end of January.

“One of the areas for SIFE is financial literacy,” Mr. Taphorn said. “The VITA program fits right in with that. The IRS provided software, and we prepared and e-filed returns for 48 people from the community, students and college staff.”

Students Amy Whisman of Hixson; Ashley Maye of Knoxville; Stephen Drake of Franklin, N.C.; and Charles Plush of Sarasota, Fla., began preparing tax returns in February and filed their last return April 9, Mr. Taphorn said.

SIFE is an international organization of students who are challenged to develop community outreach projects that reach SIFE's six educational topics including market economics, success skills, entrepreneurship, financial literacy, environmental sustainability and business ethics.