Louisiana Youth Founder of Free Community Tax Center

Last Updated: May 29, 2008

Jolanda BurtonAt just 15 years of age and while still attending high school, Jolanda Burton opened and began operating the first free tax center in her community of St. Helena, Louisiana. With support from the Rural School and Community Trust and the Louisiana Department of Social Services, the center has served hundreds of clients over the past three years, helping low-income members of their community received their Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) — a provision in the federal tax code targeting people of incomes below $35,000 to offset the burden of social security taxes. Too often, the EITC is under-used and misunderstood by the people who need it most.

During the 2008 tax season, the center became IRS certified and Jolanda along with several volunteer student certified tax preparers prepared taxes for 77 people and put $109,000 dollars back into the pockets of clients.

Jolanda Burton graduated from St. Helena Central High School on May 16, 2008 and is enrolled at Norfolk State University where she plans to major in Business Entrepreneurship and open a student-run tax center on campus. She has received several financial awards and scholarships including the LaTendre Award, the Prudential Spirit of Community Award, The Presidential Volunteer Award, Guardian Life Girls Going Somewhere Award, NSIB, LA Gear Up Scholarship, and the Board of Visitors Scholarship given by Norfolk State University.

Read about East Iberville's Tax Center:
Forget H&R Block: Louisiana Students Handle Taxes for Community