I am in a US graduate program and our professor has made a requirement that we have to participate in a program called VITA. It is a volunteer tax aid program for low-income individuals. As a volunteer you usually only review W2 and Social Security information. Not enough undergraduate students volunteered so they decided that the graduate students should be required to help. We (the graduate students) volunteered as undergraduate students and it does not benefit our learning.

Because of this requirement, I will now have to make up 8 hours a week AT my real job, which also does taxes, to not have my pay cut. I am a Staff Accountant.

How can I convince my professor to not require this volunteer work?

  • 2
    You need to discuss this with the Dean or other responsible at the institution. – Solar Mike Jan 18 at 18:29
  • 5
    Welcome to AC.SE. Please take a look at our help center. Right now I am not sure what your question is and it seems more like a rant with some unneeded info (W2's and Social Security). Also the title seems to be missing something, but I am not sure what. – StrongBad Jan 18 at 18:37
  • 3
    This VITA? irs.gov/individuals/… – Daniel R. Collins Jan 18 at 18:44
  • 4
    So if I understand correctly, your question is this: you are being required to participate in a volunteer program to help people with their taxes. You feel that this does not benefit your learning, takes an excessive amount of time (8 hours per week), and is experience that you already get in your job (in fact your job is more advanced). You're looking for suggestions on how to get out of this requirement. Does that sum it up? You could edit your question to make it more clear. – Nate Eldredge Jan 18 at 20:49
  • 1
    what would happen if you just refused? – guest Jan 19 at 4:08

If you are self funded through your regular job and need that income, then it is certainly burdensome. It seems that doing what everyone else in the program does doesn't give you any benefit at all. The university has made a commitment to help people, which is a good thing, but have no right to force that commitment on others.

But, perhaps there is an opportunity in this. The volunteers will need supervision and probably need tax advice themselves. You are probably in a good position to do either or both of these, and to do it effectively in less than eight hours per week. You could, for example, use email to field questions from volunteers as they arise, making the others more efficient and effective.

If this hasn't been resolved properly otherwise, you might suggest that as an option. Supervision might give you some experience that would be valuable later, depending on your regular job requirements.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.