Started in 1972 by Professor Ken Milani and a handful of students, the Notre Dame Tax Assistance Program has grown into a wide reaching program. The Community TAP now routinely involves more than 90 student tax preparers, as well as several faculty members and local accountants who staff several area service centers. “SWAT” teams serve disabled taxpayers in their homes, hospital rooms, and other places. More than 20 Notre Dame alumni clubs have adopted the TAP service program to help their neighbors in cities throughout the nation.
The Tax Assistance Program has helped many taxpayers and provided opportunities for students to hone their skills, to lend their service, and to develop a deeper understanding for the lives of their clients. Student preparers are Notre Dame and St. Mary’s undergraduate students majoring in accounting who are enrolled in a two-credit hour course, which focuses on preparation of U.S. federal and State of Indiana tax returns.
In 1999, the University received a generous donation to fund the work of the long-established program. The donation was made in honor of and in the name of Vivian Harrington Gray. The donor describes Mrs. Gray in these words:
“Vivian Harrington Gray was a school teacher in northwestern Wisconsin. She supported two sons as they attended Notre Dame. Both sons studied accounting, one had a career in business and the other a career in the Army. A grandson also studied accounting at Notre Dame.
In her retirement, Mrs. Gray volunteered her time to assist low income individuals in the preparation of their taxes. The endowment in her name was established by a family member to recognize her support of her children's education in accounting and her example as a volunteer.”
In keeping with the spirit of Mrs. Gray, the University of Notre Dame has served the tax needs of low and medium income individuals through the work of the TAP for over forty years. The stated purpose of the Tax Assistance Program is "to provide free income tax return preparation service to low-income individuals on a regularly scheduled basis at convenient locations."
The Vivian Harrington Gray Notre Dame – Saint Mary’s Tax Assistance Program is a registered VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) site certified by the Internal Revenue Service. VITA sites and their volunteer participants are required to meet strict ethical standards and training requirements.