MST 2019 VITA Award

Master of Taxation Students Honored for Volunteer Tax Assistance

Kiersten Thompson and Patrick O’Connor, 2019 VITA Award Winners

At the 2019 graduation ceremony for the Master of Science in Taxation students, two outstanding students, Kiersten Thompson and Patrick O’Connor, were honored for their work with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. Every year, from January to April, the MST students with the help of the United Way of King County, serve the greater UW community by hosting a free tax preparation site on campus.

This year, despite some of the worst winter weather Seattle has ever seen, the MST students still managed to:

  • collectively volunteer for nearly 1,000 hours
  • prepare 467 tax returns
  • secure $250,000 in tax refunds on behalf of their clients

The UW VITA site is the only United Way VITA site in King County qualified (and certified by the IRS) to prepare both domestic and international student returns for people with household incomes less than $66,000 per year.

The UW Tax Site Manager, Julie Tran, and Accounting Instructor, Christina Nichols, have recognized Patrick and Kiersten with the VITA Award for their commitment to service and leadership at the VITA program this past year. According to Tran and Nichols,

“Both students took the initiative to help the site run smoothly and provided quality service to their clients. Whether it be professionally communicating with upset clients over tax due, or independently researching and getting certified in additional topics without being asked, these two students truly embodied the term ‘client service’. Throughout the tax season they were adaptable, enthusiastic, and committed to learning to better assist their clients.”

Now that they have graduated, Patrick will be moving to New York City to work with PwC Manhattan, International Tax Services-Quantitative Solutions.  Kiersten will be doing federal tax for Moss Adams in Everett, WA.  We wish them both the very best!

To learn more about the Master of Science in Taxation program, visit the website or blog.



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