3/10/20—Alaina V., a senior at The Ethel Walker School, has spent two years as a tax preparer, becoming adept at sorting through clients’ financial documents and working through extensive questionnaires to determine the biggest refund possible.
She and a group of fellow students are hosting Walker’s fourth annual tax clinic, operating a Hartford location of the nationwide and IRS-endorsed Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.
Over the last three years, the Walker’s tax preparers have found a total of $642,000 in returns with the average return last year being $2,454, which can be especially impactful for low-income individuals and families who otherwise may have unknowingly left money on the table.
Not only does the clinic provide a necessary service to clients, it also empowers the teen tax preparers. According to Head of School Meera Viswanathan, sorting through a stranger’s personal and financial documents “requires deep tact and respect.” It also forces the girls to take control and try their best, even if they are nervous. Viswanathan notes it is especially crucial for girls to learn this healthy risk-taking mindset.