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Abby Bourgeois: Coordinator of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) at the University of Florida Levin College of Law [By Heather Jung] Whenever tax season rolls around, the stress level of most Americans skyrockets. People spend weeks filling out the correct forms, worrying about exemptions, and trying to get back as much money as possible on their tax returns, all the while trying to ensure they do not receive the dreaded IRS tax audit. While many middle- and upper-class citizens choose to utilize tax accountants, those with lower incomes may find these services outside of their means. Students at the University of Florida Levin College of Law annually host the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) in order to help those citizens with financial difficulties prepare their taxes. Abby Bourgeois, a 3L at Levin, has helped with the program since her first year and is serving as a coordinator for this year’s program.

“Tax time is a particularly stressful time for

available in newspaper articles or simple

According to Bourgeois, her favorite part of

many people,” Bourgeois said. “VITA helps

observation,” she said.

law school has been the relationships she has

relieve that stress, providing a free resource

formed with her peers. She considers her

for taxpayers who are confused by the process

peers to be the ones who have influenced her

or can’t afford a paid tax preparer.”

the most during her time at law school.

According to Bourgeois, her favorite class

“The people I met in law school have such

thus far has been the two-part Bankruptcy

diverse interests and backgrounds. Learning

course, which gave her the chance to meet

from them has been the most rewarding and

with Bankruptcy Judges and Practitioners

During her undergraduate studies, she received

throughout Florida.

her real estate license and opened her own

“The course focused on real world application and each session required the class to read a set of facts and discuss the issues/resolution with the visiting lecturer. Learning from such experienced and respected judges and practitioners was an irreplaceable experience,” Bourgeois said.

business, Abbco Realty, Inc. After graduating from law school, she plans to join the Phelps Dunbar firm in their Transactional Real Estate and Business group in Tampa, where she recently purchased a house. Bourgeois interned as a clerk for the firm, an experience she feels was invaluable because it gave her experience in a variety of practical areas. Q. What do you do for fun? A. Camping, boating, and anything outdoors.

As an undergraduate, Bourgeois graduated from the University of Florida Warrington College of Business with a degree in Finance in 2004. She says that she enjoys the study of law because she has always “been curious about the way things work.” “Law school provides an inside view of what happens behind the scenes, beyond what is

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Q. What CD is in your CD player right now? A. A mix CD. Q. What is the last magazine you read? A. Time. Q. What is your favorite TV show? A. Anything on the Food Network! Q. Who is your role model? A. My parents.

influential part of law school,” Bourgeois said. On the Net University of Florida Levin College of Law www.law.ufl.edu VITA www.irs.gov/individuals/article/ 0,,id=107626,00.html. Phelps Dunbar www.phelpsdunbar.com/home_flash.html


Abby Bourgeois: Coordinator of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program