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TAP provides returns beyond just taxes

by Alice Culp
Publication: South Bend Tribune

February 27, 2012


 Eight or nine years ago, a blind woman with a couple of kids in tow sat down with Ken Milani at a local Tax Assistance Program site. A single parent, she made only $15,000 per year.

Milani got her a tax refund of more than $3,000. He will never forget her response.

“Are you God?” she asked.

Milani, a professor of accountancy at the University of Notre Dame, can tell story after story of the people whose lives the Vivian Harrington Gray Notre Dame Saint Mary’s College Tax Assistance Program, better known as TAP, has touched.

And not all of them were on the other side of the desk.

Beginnings

It all started in 1972, when some Notre Dame students became aware of an $8 tax credit Indiana provided for each member of a household.

They approached Milani, a new professor at the university, and asked if he would teach them to file taxes — state and federal — so that they could help members of the South Bend community claim the credit.

At the time, the $40 that a five-person family could get back might buy enough groceries for a week or two.

“I was really ready to do something like that,” Milani said, explaining that he had done a lot of community service during his undergrad, but then had to put it aside when he went back to school for his graduate degree.

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