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CSULB business students offer free income tax preparation

Published January 28, 2021

The pandemic hasn’t delayed Tax Day and business students from Cal State Long Beach are prepared to handle qualified taxpayers’ returns solely online this year.

Organizers of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program have created a link through which taxpayers can schedule an online appointment Monday through Friday with a preparer. Parties will meet over Zoom and complete the tax return through a virtual setting. Appointments are held through March 26. 

VITA is offering two online tax days from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 20 and March 13 for those who cannot make a meeting during the week. These tax days have been held on campus in the past, but this year they will also be online. No appointment is necessary. 

More than 50 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 $57,000 or less. The 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 state and federal tax returns that 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. 

Before arriving, individuals should have the 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/daycare
  • 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