Free tax preparation help offered through VITA

Published January 31, 2020

Tax Day is fast approaching and students from Cal State Long Beach are ready to help qualified taxpayers with their returns.

More than 90 Internal Revenue Service-certified English and Spanish-speaking volunteers from the College of Business will provide free income tax return preparation to taxpayers with an income level of $54,000 or less through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program from now until March 27. These students can help taxpayers with special tax credits for which they might qualify, such as Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit.

Last year, student-volunteers filed more than 1,809 state and federal tax returns, which combined, totaled more than $1 million in refunds.

VITA is an IRS program that provides free income tax preparation to low-income, students, elderly, non-resident, disabled and limited English proficient individuals.

“VITA is win-win for our students and the community,” said Sudha Krishnan, faculty advisor for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. “The students get hands-on experience while giving back to community members who often do not have the disposable income to pay for a professional tax preparer.”

The on-campus VITA site located in COB 243 will be open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday and one Saturday, Feb. 8, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

There are walk-ins only; no appointments will be scheduled. Visitors should expect the sessions to take an hour.

Before arriving, individuals should have required documentation, such as:

  • Government issued photo ID (i.e., Driver’s License)
  • Original Government Issued Social Security Card (or documents of Individual Taxpayer Identification Number – ITIN) (No Photocopies or Pictures)
  • All W-2’s and 1099’s (if any)
  • Other income and expense information
  • Total tuition fees and expenses paid (form 1098-T)
  • Total expenses paid for child/day care
  • Day care or dependent care provider’s address, phone, and identifying number (SSN or EIN)
  • Bank account and routing number (voided check) for direct deposit of refund
  • Last year’s tax return is helpful, but not required
  • To file taxes electronically on a married-filing-joint tax return, both spouses must be present to sign the required forms