CSUSB Accounting Students Offer Free Tax Prep

By Staff Reports

(Victor Valley)– – Cal State San Bernardino students will be available to prepare tax returns free for low-income and elderly taxpayers again this year.

Through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, the tax preparation services will be offered at CSUSB and six other San Bernardino County locations.

This year’s program began Feb. 3 and runs through Saturday, April 14, at various community locations. With the observance of Emancipation Day on April 16 in the District of Columbia, the federal tax deadline this year has been moved to April 17.

The VITA program is presented by CSUSB’s accounting department and is sponsored by the Internal Revenue Service and the Franchise Tax Board.

Free tax assistance will be available at Cal State San Bernardino’s Jack Brown Hall, fourth floor, Mondays and Wednesdays from 2-5 p.m. through March 14. No appointment is necessary.

Other dates and locations offering the VITA program are:

Fridays through April 13, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at:

  • American Red Cross, Inland Empire Chapter, 202 W. Rialto Ave., San Bernardino
  • Boys and Girls Club of Redlands, 1251 Clay St., Redlands

Saturdays through April 14 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at:

  • Northtown Community Center, 10071 Feron Blvd., Rancho Cucamonga
  • Fontana Boys and Girls Club, 7723 Almeria Ave., Fontana  (from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.)
  • Norman F. Feldheym Central Library, 555 West 6th St., San Bernardino (closed Feb. 18 in observance of President’s Day)
  • Goodwill Industries Clearance Center, 8120 Palm Lane, San Bernardino

The program uses some 100 volunteers, who work more than 6,000 hours during tax season. Last year, the student volunteers prepared about 2,000 tax returns. Combined federal and state returns resulted in refunds totaling more than $1.2 million.

“This is exciting because it is money that comes back to the Inland Empire and infused into the local economy,” said Janet Courts, a lecturer in CSUSB’s accounting department. She has been the VITA coordinator for 10 years.

Students have been trained to prepare basic tax returns for taxpayers whose annual gross income does not exceed $60,000. They provide returns including those with itemized deductions, earned income credit, education credit, dependent care credit and child tax credit.

Volunteers are not able to prepare tax returns for nonresident aliens, small business owners, owners of rental properties or those who are married but filing separately.

To participate in the program, taxpayers must bring valid photo identification and Social Security or ITIN cards for each taxpayer, his or her spouse and all dependents claimed. There are no exceptions to this rule. Taxpayers must also bring W-2s, 1099s and other pertinent tax documents. Both husband and wife must be present to sign joint returns. Free electronic filing will be available. No appointment is necessary at any of the locations.

The VITA program is made possible through the generosity of American Red Cross – Inland Empire Chapter, Boys and Girls Club of Redlands, Fontana Boys and Girls Club, Goodwill Industries, and the Inland Empire United Way. .

Other partners and sponsors include the Association of Governmental Accountants, CSUSB’s College of Business and Public Administration, CSUSB’s Accounting Advisory Board, the Business Alliance, Becker CPA review course and the Norman F. Feldheym Library. Also included are the CPA firms of Ahern, Adcock and Devlin; Eadie and Payne; Rogers, Anderson, Malody and Scott; and Soren, McAdam and Christenson.

For more information, visit the VITA website at www.cbpa.csusb.edu/vita or contact Janet Courts at (909) 537-3992, or by e-mail at vita@csusb.edu.

For more information about Cal State San Bernardino, contact the university’s Office of Public Affairs at (909) 537-5007 and visit http://news.csusb.edu.

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