background image
9
Connecticut CPA
g
May/June 2014
Community-
Minded CPAs
Rejuvenate
Windham
County
VITA Program
paid advertisement
B
ack in the 1970s, a handful of
Connecticut CPAs decided that
enough need existed for com-
munity public accounting assistance
for the CTCPA Community Service
Committee to become a full-time,
quasi-independent entity. With seed
money from the AICPA, the CTCPA,
and several corporations, the CPAs
opened a storefront on Hartford's
Albany Avenue and Community Ac-
counting Aid and Services, Inc. (better
known as CAAS) became the de facto
formal public service arm of Connecti-
cut's CPA community.
Fast forward to 2014. Faced with a
declining caseload, declining finan-
cial support, and an executive direc-
tor about to retire, CAAS found itself
at the proverbial crossroads of crisis
and opportunity. The CAAS board of
directors took a long, introspective
look in the mirror and decided, among
other steps, to jumpstart the softening
caseload by committing to manage
the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance
(VITA) program as offered in Windham
County during the current tax season.
It proved a solid decision. Working
with student volunteers from East-
ern Connecticut State University,
the CAAS volunteer VITA site had
e-filed 498 returns as of March 24,
and projected they would file approxi-
mately 130 more returns by the April
15 deadline.
Connecticut CPA Editor Kirsten
Piechota and I drove out to the Wil-
limantic clinic site at the Community
Action Agency on March 5, deep in
the heart of taxes.
By Mark Zampino, Publisher
u
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Site Supervisor Rick Merrick, president of Community Ac-
counting Aid and Services (CAAS) and principal with Merrick & Associates, assists an Eastern Con-
necticut State University accounting major preparing a tax return at the Community Action Agency
in Willimantic.