Free tax help offered for local residents

Author: Carol Elliott

Tax Assistance Program

South Bend-area residents can get free help with their state and federal tax return preparation through the Vivian Harrington Gray Notre Dame-Saint Mary’s College Tax Assistance Program (TAP) starting Thursday (Feb. 6). The program serves taxpayers with annual income of $39,000 or less.

Accountancy students from the University of Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s College will be available at various libraries and community centers to help with tax preparation until April 15. For a full schedule and complete listing of sites, call 574-631-7863 or visit

“A win-win-win situation is a rarity, but TAP provides this outcome,” said Ken Milani, the accountancy professor at the Mendoza College of Business who started the program in 1972. “Taxpayers are the primary beneficiaries, since they receive free income tax preparation service. But students also benefit from the practical experience, and involved faculty members use the TAP experience to complement classroom activities with a challenging project.”

About 90 student volunteers participate annually in TAP. In addition to manning the community sites, they also form “SWAT” teams to visit disabled taxpayers in their homes and hospital rooms. In 2009, TAP personnel filed in excess of 3,800 income tax returns in the local area. More than 20 Notre Dame alumni clubs have adopted the TAP service program to help their neighbors in cities throughout the nation.

Domestic taxpayers can walk into the service centers without an appointment. However, all international taxpayers should set an appointment in advance using TAP’s online Appointment Scheduling Process (ASP). The ASP will match the client with the appropriate tax preparer based on client answers to questions. The online ASP is available here:

TAP is supported by funds from the Mendoza College of Business and supplies provided by the Internal Revenue Service and the Indiana Department of Revenue.