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Accounting students help community

first_imgAccounting majors from Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame are helping members of the South Bend community this tax season—for free.In 1972, a new accountancy professor interested in helping people claim their earned income tax credit founded the Tax Assistance Program (TAP). That professor, Ken Milani, now mentors undergraduate students 42 years later as they continue assisting members of the South Bend community.John Cergnul, a former student of Milani’s and TAP volunteer in 1975 and 1976, is now an assistant professor of accounting at Saint Mary’s College. The Notre Dame alumnus said he advises his students to participate in the program for various reasons.Junior Taylor Etzell said the experience with real tax returns takes students far beyond the classroom.“The classroom can give you basic scenarios of what you may encounter when preparing someone’s tax return but the Tax Assistance Program is far superior,” Etzell said. “We are looking at real employees’ W-2s and 1099s and have to pull the correct numbers from the forms and place them where they belong on the federal and state tax returns. It’s all so real life and so exciting.”Cergnul said the earned income tax credit is comparable to a negative tax.“So when you file your tax return you’re getting a refund, you’re just getting your own money back, right? A negative tax is the government giving you money,” Cergnul said.Acquiring the credit is a difficult process, Cergnul said. This is where the student volunteers come in.“The problem is that it’s very complicated just to see who qualifies and then to make the calculations as to how much the credit is and how much you’re entitled to,” Cergnul said. “That was the genesis of the program and it remains so today.”The tax assistance the program offers is completely free for participants, Cergnul said.“We’re doing tax returns for people and we don’t charge them,” he said. “That’s the best part of the program. The second best part of the program is what the students learn.”STEPH WULZ | The Observer Cergnul said the practical application makes the lessons in accounting classrooms tangible and the weight of responsibility becomes more real.“The third big benefit from this is the students’ poise and confidence. They’re sitting across the table from real people with real dollars, real taxes,” Cergnul said. “In class it’s hypothetical. Take a look at Problem 35, oh heck I got it wrong.”Etzell said the professors running the program have given her both confidence and the necessary skills.“My professors — Cergnul, in particular — have instilled in me a confidence that must be used when preparing a return,” Etzell said. “Milani has taught me how to look at the correct information and extract meaning from simple interview questions we direct toward the taxpayers. Because of his direction, I know what exactly I’m looking for and how I am going to go about finding that information.”Cergnul said students are invariably anxious when they start out, but gain confidence over time.“By the end of the filing season, they’ve grown in poise and their ability to communicate with other people — professional communication — is enhanced,” Cergnul said.This poise ultimately helps students as they interview for jobs, he said.“I mean they’ve actually sat across the table with a real client and did a real transaction and people who don’t go through this program haven’t done that,” Cergnul said. “Those communication skills translate very well in interviews.”Etzell said the work can be difficult given the sheer number of clients students are required to assist.“Professor Milani, along with Professor Cergnul, have taught me how to be perform under pressure,” she said. “We have lines of people waiting for us to prepare their returns so it is of utmost importance that we move efficiently, yet effectively, through everyone’s paperwork and return forms.”Etzell said as challenging as the work is, it is rewarding to help out members of the local community.“I have been given the necessary tools to perform well in this program, and now my duty is to help the community,” Etzell said. “Detecting when people have earned certain deductions or credits is a task in and of itself, but again, the reward of helping others makes all the work so worth it.“My favorite part is seeing the people come in looking rather flustered and then them leaving a little while later with a sense of relief on their faces.”Junior Grace Harvey said TAP has helped hone her knowledge of tax practices and concepts.“Even though my internship this summer with Grant Thorton is more focused on corporate tax rather than personal income tax, [TAP is] an awesome opportunity,” Harvey said.The two credit hours contribute toward the 150 credit hours required to sit for the CPA exam, Harvey said.Harvey said that participating students will help file tax returns in various locations throughout South Bend  with tax filings due April 15.Tags: Ken Milani, TAP, Tax Assistance Program, taxeslast_img read more

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Lou Williams, Clippers stave off elimination, push Warriors to a Game 6

first_img“Bingo!” said Clippers hero Lou Williams (33 points, 10 assists), who scored eight consecutive points, including a critical four-point play, in the final few minutes as the Warriors went cold and L.A. stole a second victory in Oakland, spoiling Kevin Durant’s career playoff high of 45 points.“Oh me, oh my,” added Clippers guard Patrick Beverley, channeling another of Lawler’s catch-phrases after getting the cornered Clippers on the right track early with 11 points, six rebounds and two assists in the first quarter. Beverley finished with 17 points (5 for 11 from 3-point range) and a career-high 14 rebounds and took a big charge against Klay Thompson with 1:40 left.“I thought Patrick Beverley came in, just kicked our butts right away,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “He came out with more energy than we had and that set a tone.”The Clippers built leads of nine points in the first half and 15 in the third quarter before Steph Curry buried a 3-pointer to cut the margin to three with 5:55 left in the fourth.Durant dunked to tie it at 116-116 and after Williams made one of two free throws, another Durant dunk made gave the Warriors a 118-117 lead and got the 19,596-member crowd at Oracle Arena shrieking its approval. Clippers hope they can play to their capabilities, quell Mavericks’ momentum Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error “I’m blessed to have teammates who believe in me coming down the stretch, that make sure I have the ball in my hands, that have confidence in me to go out there and make those plays,” said Williams, who finished 12 for 19 from the field.“And when you have a locker room full of guys who are gonna live and die with the decisions that you make in the fourth quarter, it makes your job tremendously easy … I go out there and try to do the best that I can to help us get a win.”“I think you’re being modest,” Beverley interjected. “He’s a killer, man. I done guarded the best of them, I see him every day in practice, man, he’s a real killer. He goes up with some of the best scorers in the NBA; he should be up there with some of the superstar players in this league. He’s doing it day and day out – at 6-1-and-a-half, I believe.“And,” forward Montrezl Harrell chimed in, “he don’t start!”Harrell added 24 points off the bench, converting 11 of his 14 attempts to help delay for at least another game the heavily favored Warriors’ second-round date with the Houston Rockets, who closed out their series with a Game 5 victory over the Utah Jazz earlier Wednesday.The Clippers shot 54.1 percent from the field (to the Warriors’ 44.8 percent), made 24 of 26 free-throw attempts and outrebounded Golden State 42-39.“This gives us more confidence than the comeback win,” said Clippers guard Garrett Temple, referring to the Clippers’ NBA playoff-record 31-point comeback in Game 2.“I feel like we had a lot of control, we did what we wanted to do and guys who shot the ball, they shot it in spots we wanted them to shoot it, and offensively we just played a lot more like we usually did in the regular season.”The get-Gallo-going plan finally took hold: After missing his first three looks from the field, Clippers forward Danilo Gallinari laid in a bucket, and then buried back-to-back 3-pointers late in the first quarter and, suddenly, he was knocking down shots, converting hook shots, driving for layups and getting calls.Related Articles Clippers vs. Mavericks Game 5 playoff updates from NBA beat reporters For Lakers’ LeBron James, Jacob Blake’s shooting is bigger issue than a big Game 4 victory Kristaps Porzingis ruled out as Clippers, Mavericks set for Game 5; Follow for game updates But then Williams went to work and put the game out of reach, beginning with the 26-foot pull-up jumper that resulted in a four-point play with 2:32 left. Another Williams basket pushed the lead to 123-118, then after Beverley drew the charger on Thompson with 1:40 left, Williams capped his personal run with a 14-foot fadeaway jumper with 1:29 left. What the Clippers are saying the day after Luka Doncic’s game-winner tied series, 2-2 #ClipperNation @TeamLou23 (33 PTS, 10 AST) & @MONSTATREZZ (24 PTS, 11-14 FGM) help the @LAClippers (2-3) force a Game 6! #NBAPlayoffs Game 6: Friday (4/26), 10pm/et, ESPN pic.twitter.com/duRFtmGD56— NBA (@NBA) April 25, 2019 PreviousOAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 24: Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors walks off the court after they lost to the LA Clippers in Game Five of the first round of the 2019 NBA Western Conference Playoffs at ORACLE Arena on April 24, 2019 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)Los Angeles Clippers’ Montrezl Harrell (5) scores as Golden State Warriors’ Andrew Bogut (12), Klay Thompson, second from right, and Andre Iguodala watch during the second half in Game 5 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series, Wednesday, April 24, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry, right, drives the ball against Los Angeles Clippers’ Danilo Gallinari, left, and Landry Shamet (20) in the first half in Game 5 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series, Wednesday, April 24, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot) SoundThe gallery will resume insecondsOAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 24: Lou Williams #23 of the LA Clippers drives on Alfonzo McKinnie #28 of the Golden State Warriors during Game Five of the first round of the 2019 NBA Western Conference Playoffs at ORACLE Arena on April 24, 2019 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)Golden State Warriors’ Klay Thompson, right, shoots over Los Angeles Clippers’ Garrett Temple (17) during the first half in Game 5 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series, Wednesday, April 24, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)Los Angeles Clippers’ Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) drives the ball against Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry during the second half in Game 5 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series, Wednesday, April 24, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)Golden State Warriors’ Kevin Durant, right, drives the ball against Los Angeles Clippers’ Lou Williams during the first half in Game 5 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series, Wednesday, April 24, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)Los Angeles Clippers’ Patrick Beverley (21) speaks with coach Doc Rivers during the second half in Game 5 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Golden State Warriors, Wednesday, April 24, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)Los Angeles Clippers’ Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, left, and Patrick Beverley, right, defend Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry during the first half in Game 5 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series, Wednesday, April 24, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry gestures from the floor during the first half in Game 5 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers, Wednesday, April 24, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)Los Angeles Clippers’ Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) drives the ball against Golden State Warriors’ Klay Thompson during the second half in Game 5 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series, Wednesday, April 24, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)Golden State Warriors’ Kevin Durant lays up a shot against the Los Angeles Clippers during the first half in Game 5 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series Wednesday, April 24, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (John G. Mabanglo/Pool Photo via AP)Los Angeles Clippers’ Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) lays up a shot against Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green, right, during the second half in Game 5 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series, Wednesday, April 24, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 24: Head coach Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors talks to his team before playing against the LA Clippers in Game Five of the first round of the 2019 NBA Western Conference Playoffs at ORACLE Arena on April 24, 2019 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)Los Angeles Clippers’ Montrezl Harrell scores against the Golden State Warriors in the second half in Game 5 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series, Wednesday, April 24, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 24: Montrezl Harrell #5 of the LA Clippers smiles as he runs back downcourt after making a basket against the Golden State Warriors during Game Five of the first round of the 2019 NBA Western Conference Playoffs at ORACLE Arena on April 24, 2019 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)Golden State Warriors’ Klay Thompson, right, drives the ball against Los Angeles Clippers’ Shai Gilgeous-Alexander during the first half in Game 5 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series, Wednesday, April 24, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green (23) blocks the shot of Los Angeles Clippers’ JaMychal Green (4) during the second half in Game 5 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series Wednesday, April 24, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry watches his shot against the Los Angeles Clippers in the first half in Game 5 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series, Wednesday, April 24, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)Los Angeles Clippers’ Lou Williams (23) lays up a shot against the Golden State Warriors the first half in Game 5 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series Wednesday, April 24, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (John G. Mabanglo/Pool Photo via AP)OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 24: Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors questions a call by Marc Davis during their game against the LA Clippers during Game Five of the first round of the 2019 NBA Western Conference Playoffs at ORACLE Arena on April 24, 2019 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 24: Lou Williams #23 of the LA Clippers shoots over Andre Iguodala #9 of the Golden State Warriors during Game Five of the first round of the 2019 NBA Western Conference Playoffs at ORACLE Arena on April 24, 2019 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)Golden State Warriors’ Kevin Durant, left, waits for play to resume in the second half in Game 5 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers, Wednesday, April 24, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)Golden State Warriors’ Kevin Durant during the second half in Game 5 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers Wednesday, April 24, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)Los Angeles Clippers’ Patrick Beverley, right, loses his shoe while driving the ball against Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry (30) in the second half in Game 5 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series, Wednesday, April 24, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 24: Patrick Beverley #21 of the LA Clippers draws an offensive foul off of Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors during Game Five of the first round of the 2019 NBA Western Conference Playoffs at ORACLE Arena on April 24, 2019 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 24: Patrick Beverley #21 of the LA Clippers draws an offensive foul off of Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors during Game Five of the first round of the 2019 NBA Western Conference Playoffs at ORACLE Arena on April 24, 2019 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 24: Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors reacts to a call as Kevin Durant #35 holds him back during their game against the LA Clippers during Game Five of the first round of the 2019 NBA Western Conference Playoffs at ORACLE Arena on April 24, 2019 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)Los Angeles Clippers’ Patrick Beverley (21) reacts to a call by referees during the second half in Game 5 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Golden State Warriors, Wednesday, April 24, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)Los Angeles Clippers’ Patrick Beverley celebrates in the final minutes of the second half in Game 5 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Golden State Warriors, Wednesday, April 24, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 24: Montrezl Harrell #5 high-fives Patrick Beverley #21 of the LA Clippers during their game against the Golden State Warriors in Game Five of the first round of the 2019 NBA Western Conference Playoffs at ORACLE Arena on April 24, 2019 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 24: Montrezl Harrell #5 shakes hands with Patrick Beverley #21 of the LA Clippers during their game against the Golden State Warriors in Game Five of the first round of the 2019 NBA Western Conference Playoffs at ORACLE Arena on April 24, 2019 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)Golden State Warriors’ Klay Thompson, right, waits for play to resume during the second half in Game 5 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers Wednesday, April 24, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 24: Patrick Beverley #21 of the LA Clippers congratulates Lou Williams #23 of the LA Clippers after he made a basket against the Golden State Warriors during Game Five of the first round of the 2019 NBA Western Conference Playoffs at ORACLE Arena on April 24, 2019 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 24: Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors walks off the court after they lost to the LA Clippers in Game Five of the first round of the 2019 NBA Western Conference Playoffs at ORACLE Arena on April 24, 2019 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)Los Angeles Clippers’ Montrezl Harrell (5) scores as Golden State Warriors’ Andrew Bogut (12), Klay Thompson, second from right, and Andre Iguodala watch during the second half in Game 5 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series, Wednesday, April 24, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)NextShow Caption1 of 34Los Angeles Clippers’ Montrezl Harrell (5) scores as Golden State Warriors’ Andrew Bogut (12), Klay Thompson, second from right, and Andre Iguodala watch during the second half in Game 5 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series, Wednesday, April 24, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)ExpandOAKLAND — Ralph Lawler doesn’t typically approach Doc Rivers on the floor during pregame, but with the Clippers’ season – and his career – on the line in Game 5 on Wednesday night at Oracle Arena, he did.“He walked up to me, first time ever, and said, ‘Coach, I’ve had 20 people congratulate me on my career and say good luck like tonight is the end of Ralph. Please do something about that,’ ” Rivers said. “So, Ralph, we did.”The never-say-die Clippers felt more like themselves Wednesday, defeating the two-time defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors 129-121 and sending this best-of-seven first-round playoff series back to Los Angeles for a Game 6 on Friday at 7 p.m.Trailing 3-1 and facing elimination Wednesday against the top-seeded Warriors, the Clippers extended both their surprising season and the soon-to-retire broadcaster’s Hall-of-Fame tenure for at least one more game. A 43.3 percent 3-point shooter during the regular season, Gallinari came in having made just seven of his 25 attempts from deep – many of them open – in the series. On Wednesday, he shot just 3 for 11 from 3-point range but still finished with 26 points and seven rebounds.“Me and Lou were on the bench telling him to keep shooting,” Temple said. “Him shooting that shot is great for us, and we knew he was gonna start hitting them. he was big for us, obviously.”The Clippers even made good on Lawler’s Law on Wednesday: As the first team to 100 (the Clippers led 100-94 with 30 seconds left in the third), L.A. was obligated, by the “Law,” to win Wednesday.JaMychal Green, who started in place of Ivica Zubac for a second consecutive game, made three of six 3-point attempts, including the one that got the Clippers to the century mark and another that gave the Clippers an 81-66 lead with nine minutes left in the third quarter.“It’s great to get two wins, especially here, in the playoffs, to be able to bring the series back home is great,” said Gallinari, adding one last thought about Lawler’s delayed retirement: “Another reason why we won!” The @LAClippers keep their season alive, winning Game 5 on the road in a thrilling, fantastic finish! #ClipperNation #NBAPlayoffsGame 6: Friday (4/26), 10pm/et, ESPN pic.twitter.com/nqqy4JljOL— NBA (@NBA) April 25, 2019last_img read more

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