The College of Business Administration is offering free income tax preparation help, through the Internal Revenue Services’ (IRS) Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, on select Saturdays and in various locations from now until April 13. 

VITA is a federal program sponsored by the IRS, that offers free tax help for taxpayers with a gross income of less than $56,000. It is primarily aimed to help low-income, elderly, and military taxpayers, although CPP students are welcome to receive help if they meet the income requirements. 

Congresswoman Norma Torres, D-Ontario, at the VITA kickoff. (Courtesy of Chris Neprasch)

All tax returns are prepared by juniors, seniors and recent alumni from the College of Business Administration, who have taken traditional accounting and taxation courses, as well as tests administered by the IRS on how to properly prepare returns. They are also supervised by faculty with certifications in accounting. Christine Tan, a third-year business administration major with an emphasis in accounting, explained the extensive studying and preparation that is expected of volunteers.

 “You have to go through four exams where you have to get 80 percent or higher to pass,” Tan said.

This is Tan’s second year volunteering in VITA. She participates to gain experience and expertise within her field. 

“[VITA] is a good way to be exposed to applying concepts that we learn in class to the real world. It also helps students gain communication and service skills.”

Sharyn Fisk, an assistant professor for the accounting department and the director of VITA, appreciates what VITA offers for the community and its student volunteers.

“It’s beneficial not only for the community, but for the university. [VITA] assists the students in learning applicable, real-life skills that they can use upon graduation and their employment,” Fisk said.

“They get the feel-good of doing community service and [in the future], the ability to talk to employers during interviews …. For the community, it helps low income tax payers to make sure their returns are done correctly and accurately and that they don’t have issues with the IRS, since they can’t really afford to pay a professional to do it.”

On Feb. 9, VITA held a clinic on campus for Mega Tax Day. Upcoming locations, dates and a requirements list can be found on the College of Business Administration’s website. 

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