Volunteers in Madison, Wisconsin helped complete more than 490 federal income tax returns this season. Sixty-two volunteers working under the aegis of the UW Credit Union offered the free help in eight locations around the city.

Evan Smith, a junior accounting major at the University of Wisconsin-Madison was one of the trained volunteers. A native of the Milwaukee suburb of Brookfield, Smith helped about 20 people with their tax returns, and “enjoyed every minute of it,” he says.

“Lots of times people came in and told me how much they needed the money, and I was able to fill out the tax forms and show them they got a couple of thousand dollars back or a couple of hundred dollars back, and they were grateful. It did make me feel really good,” says Smith, who volunteered through Beta Alpha Psi, an accounting fraternity.

For the average client the tax help in past years meant $500 more into his or her pocket than would otherwise be the case. For someone earning $11/hr, that amounts to a 2 per cent raise. That’s money that does not come out of the employer’s pocket, meaning both the worker and the employer benefit.