Rodney Hardcastle: A Man for Tax Season
By Emily Mathe
As chair of one of PUC’s five largest academic departments, Rodney Hardcastle usually has plenty on his plate. During April’s tax season, the business professor and Certified Public Accountant has even more to think about, especially while teaching his Individual Taxation Class. This year, Rodney shared an opportunity with the students to get involved with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program at the Up Valley Family Center in Saint Helena.
Rodney learned about the VITA program a year ago through one of his students, Rosa Cuevas (now an alumnus), who was interning at a financial planning firm in Saint Helena. Cuevas asked Rodney to pass along information about the program to students in the class who might be interested. “I thought it was such a good idea I offered them extra credit for participating,” he states. “The ones who did it last year had such a good experience I decided to make it a course requirement this year, and they all had good experiences again.” (Read the story in the St. Helena Star to learn more about how PUC students participated with the VITA program.)
As a whole, the department of business administration has been working to provide more service learning experiences for students. “This is a very natural fit for our majors to get this experience,” Rodney reports. “The students benefit both personally and professionally. The experience not only gives them more confidence with dealing with their own tax planning and filing but it introduces them to the possibilities of becoming tax professionals.” As an added benefit, the program also looks very good on the students’ future resumes.
During March and April, Rodney adds even more responsibilities to his ever-growing checklist. For thirty years he has operated a small CPA practice in addition to his responsibilities as a professor and department head. He provides professional tax services to individuals and businesses alike—as his time permits. Much of this work gets done during spring break, when he has more time to focus on work outside of his academic and administrative duties. “The benefits of my doing this come not only to me, but also to my students and the community,” he says. “My students benefit because this practice forces me to keep current in my field and my students benefit from hearing of my professional experiences in the classroom.”