UGA College of Family & Consumer Sciences Partners with IRS & Georgia United Credit Union

ATHENS, GA (May 6, 2015) — Fifty-five students from the University of Georgia’s College of Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) and J.M. Tull School of Accounting in Terry School of Business partnered with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Georgia United Credit Union to provide free tax preparation services for  891 individuals this tax season.

This is the 9th year of this partnership that gives “real life” work experience for UGA students who are majoring in Financial Planning (College of Family and Consumer Sciences) and Accounting (Terry College of Business). Students who enroll in this service-learning course and participate in the VITA program earn academic credit for their effort.

The students are trained and certified utilizing the IRS required VITA course materials in tax preparation and Georgia United Credit Union provides the office space and funding – and local consumers benefit by having their taxes prepared and filed electronically at no charge!

Dr. Lance Palmer, Associate Professor in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, helped develop this program for UGA as a service learning course with former Department Head Dr. Anne Sweaney, after they were contacted by UGA retiree Tom Cochran who was affiliated with Georgia United Credit Union. From there, the VITA partnership was launched and has grown every year. Lance Palmer, an associate professor in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences’ housing and consumer economics department, is the 2013 recipient of the Engaged Scholar Award presented annually by the Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach.

Georgia United Board Member and VITA Volunteer Tom Cochran of Watkinsville shared the following information, “This year, we assisted 891 individuals and were able to successfully submit 825 returns electronically resulting in federal refunds totaling $1,034,673 and state refunds totaling $212,367. Our total numbers were up this year and were pleased to have accounting students from Athens Tech join us in this effort.”

The VITA program extended free tax return assistance to individuals and families with low to moderate income (who do not have depreciable property, business losses or extensive stock or asset transactions.) This year’s VITA site was located at Georgia United Credit Union’s 190 Gaines School Road branch.   Sessions were available on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings, beginning January 27 through April 9, and on Saturdays, January 31 through April 11.  Appointments were booked online via the Georgia United website.

About Georgia United Credit Union

Georgia United Credit Union is ranked as one of the top credit unions in Georgia in both size and safety at over $1 billion in assets, 135,000 members and 17 branches, including two in Athens.  Georgia United seeks to make members’ lives easier by offering products, services and education to help members meet their needs and achieve their goals.

Georgia United serves the faculty, staff, students and alumni of the University of Georgia, residents of Athens-Clarke County, and employees and family members of over 500 select employee companies including all State of Georgia employees.  Additional information may be found at

PHOTO CAPTION:  University of Georgia students and VITA volunteers for the 2015 tax season gather for a photo in the Tate Center, following finals on May 4 (front left) with UGA College of Family & Consumer Sciences Associate Professor Dr. Lance Palmer and (far right) Georgia United CU Board Member and VITA volunteer Tom Cochran.


More News