Paul Hammeke, former Project Manager for Progress Through Business and developer of the Madison-area tax program, is utilizing the skills and strategies he acquired during his tenure at Progress to continue helping low- and moderate-income communities through Tax Help Colorado.
Tax Help Colorado is a partnership formed between The Piton Foundation and the Colorado Community College System. This unique program uses college students, primarily those enrolled in the state’s community colleges, to offer free tax assistance to families and individuals earning under $50,000 a year. Students take an accredited accounting class in income tax preparation to ensure they are properly trained to complete tax returns for targeted communities.
These students also receive college credit for working 30 hours at a free tax site located at their school, and obtain a signed letter from Colorado’s governor for completing 40 hours of service. The result is a state-wide network of free tax preparation sites located in under served areas, which are staffed by well-trained college students engaged in a valuable community service.
This past tax season, 300 students at 14 participating colleges, helped over 7,000 taxpayers receive $13.2 million in federal and state refunds.
“I could not perform my Tax Help Colorado duties effectively without the experience I gained at Progress Through Business,” says Paul. “Everything I do here is based on a skill set and viewpoint that I developed while pursuing the mission of Progress. Applying what I learned through important work in Wisconsin to a larger-scale model of service delivery is a constant occurrence in the day-to-day activities of my position. This has become even more apparent as we look towards offering FAFSA completion as a combined service with free tax preparation.”