ECON 22
Volunteer Income Tax Assistant Winter 2023

Class Details

This experiential course provides students with the opportunity to explore public policy through training and work as volunteer income tax preparers for low-income working people in North Adams, Massachusetts. By the end of the term, students will be IRS-certified volunteer income tax preparers. Students have the option of writing a 10-page analytic essay or serving as volunteer tax preparers for local clients of the Berkshire Community Action Council. Classes will center around lab sessions where students will progress through the self-paced IRS “Link and Learn” online tax preparer training program that leads to certification. We will also hold a number of lecture/discussion sessions. These will offer a brief overview of the U.S. income tax and its history, as well its relationship to U.S. social policy (especially policy towards lower-income households). This year’s course is co-taught by a behavioral economist, and thus some class time will also be devoted to discussing the psychological aspects of filing taxes, both when filing for yourself and when serving as a volunteer assistant for low-income clients. In summary, class time will be a mix of (1) working through the self-paced online training program, and (2) discussing relevant policy and program context. Note: This course satisfies the Political Economy Major Experiential Learning requirement.
The Class: Format: lecture
Limit: 18
Expected: NA
Class#: 1112
Grading: pass/fail only
Requirements/Evaluation: 10-page paper
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: statement of interest
Attributes: EXPE Experiential Education Courses

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