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BYU Marriott School students take top prize at national xTAX Competition

Death and taxes aren’t the only things in life you can count on. xTax Competition judges have added Brigham Young University Marriott School students to their list. BYU accounting students again won national honors at the competition, making BYU the only university to win nationally all four years since the competition began.

Not only was this year’s team national winners, they also took home the competition’s top honor, the Hamilton Award, and more than $11,000.

“The xTAX competition allows a team of BYU students to test their tax policy, presentation skills and teamwork against others through intercollegiate competition,” says John Barrick, assistant professor of accounting and xTAX adviser.

The BYU team beat out four other national finalist teams from Baylor, Bryant College, Michigan State and Notre Dame to win the top prize. Each team consists of five participants with at least one junior and two sophomores.

BYU’s team included Aaron Zimbelman of Provo, Utah; Brian Hunt of Paradise, Calif.; Jed Eastman of West Bountiful, Utah; Kodiak Smith of Bountiful, Utah; and Meg Casper of Mesa, Wash.

More than 900 students from 25 colleges and universities participated in the first round of the competition. Their task was to consider how a country can achieve economic objectives by instituting a job growth and incentive tax proposal. The top team from each campus won $1,000 and consideration for the finals.

Five teams were chosen as national finalists, awarded $10,000 and invited to Washington, D.C., to meet with PwC’s Washington National Tax Service.

Judges choose the national winners and the Hamilton Award recipient based on three criteria: critical thinking, presentation quality and teamwork.

“We started early this year and looked at the task from many different viewpoints,” says Hunt, a four-time competition veteran and member of the 2003 national finalist team. “I learned a lot about teamwork from the competition as well as how to make a solid presentation in front of experts. We got better each year.”

Writer: Chad Little

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