(Photo: AP)

Alliance of Comprehensive Planners on Friday announced its second annual tax‐focused case study competition, designed exclusively for undergraduate students in personal financial planning programs registered with the CFP Board of Standards.

Contestants will review a hypothetical scenario provided by the organizers — including relevant background information, financial data and a hand-written tax organizer — then execute the tasks stated at the end of the case study packet.

The winner will be announced Oct. 8.

“The ACP tax-focused case study competition provides an opportunity for students to apply knowledge they have learned in the classroom to a realistic financial planning scenario,” Steven Clark, chair of the committee heading up this year’s student competition, said in a statement. “They get to ‘do the work’ of financial planning rather than just read or watch how it is done by others. It is good practice in preparation for their future careers.”

The winning student will receive free registration to attend the ACP 2018 Annual Conference in Miami in November, as well as round-trip coach fare up to $500 and three nights’ hotel accommodations at the Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay, the conference hotel.

ACP laid out several rules for prospective competitors. Only one student may be named as the submitter, though there is no limit to the number of students from any qualified program.

All participants must be enrolled in a CFP Board-registered undergraduate degree program as of the first day of their program’s fall 2018 semester. Students in a master’s degree or graduate program may not enter the contest.

Students may not seek advice from professionals or non-participants, nor use of industry-specific professional software — including but not limited to tax-preparation software and financial planning software.

The announcement emphasized that any IRS materials used should be from the 2017 tax year.

Submissions must be sent in to marykate@acplanners.org by Sept. 16, and will be reviewed by a committee of tenured ACP members beginning Sept. 17 and concluding on Oct. 7.

“The financial planning profession as a whole also benefits from student participation in case study competitions,” Clark said. “Future hiring firms and the public will benefit from better-prepared college graduates who are excited about the work they are doing.”

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