Accounting majors at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) assisted students and members of the community with their 2009 tax returns free of charge through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. The program ran through April 9 at the university.
VITA is a cooperative effort by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and many individual states, including California, to provide income tax assistance to low- and moderate-income individuals, the handicapped and the elderly. Volunteers are trained to prepare basic income tax returns at VITA sites, and returns can take up to 30 minutes to prepare.
Sponsored by the IRS but funded through the campus’ Beta Alpha Psi & Accounting Society, VITA helps students on campus and people from the community who cannot afford to go to paid preparers to get their taxes filed. At the same time, the program gives student volunteers valuable experience that can further help them to attain full-time employment in the accounting field.
This year’s campus VITA program had 37 volunteers who were trained and certified by the IRS to prepare and E-file basic income tax returns and foreign student tax returns. They are also qualified to answer many tax questions or concerns that those coming in for assistance may have.
During the 2009 tax season, CSULB volunteers prepared more than 550 income tax returns for individuals on and off campus..