April 15 will be here before we know it, and taxes will be due. California State University, Northridge business students hope to take some of the drudgery out of tax day by offering free tax preparation assistance to qualified members of the public.
CSUN’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program provides free assistance with state and federal tax preparation to low-income families and individuals — including non-English speakers, senior citizens and people with disabilities — starting Feb. 9 through March 28 at various locations throughout the San Fernando Valley.
“With the filing requirements for the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care) starting this year, we expect our CSUN VITA sites to be very busy this filing season,” said accounting professor Catherine Jeppson, who oversees the program.
For a complete list of CSUN’s VITA locations — including sites in North Hills, Northridge, North Hollywood, Pacoima, Panorama City, Sylmar and Van Nuys — and the dates and times students will be available to prepare tax forms, visit VITA’s website at www.csun.edu/vita.
Due to the large number of individuals who require assistance, the maximum gross income per income tax return for participants has been set at $58,000. Those seeking assistance must bring their Social Security cards.
VITA does not prepare tax returns for people who are not required to file, unless a taxpayer must file in order to potentially receive funds from federal and/or state governments.
More than 200 CSUN student volunteers have completed intensive training to handle federal and state tax returns. In addition to serving the community, the VITA program, also allows students the opportunity to gain knowledge and experience in their field of study. Among the diverse languages that VITA students speak are Spanish, Armenian and Russian.
Last year, CSUN students helped members of the public file 5,000 tax forms, saving them more than $2 million in tax preparation fees and refundable credits. These figures do not include all the money refunded to taxpayers.
Formed in 1971, CSUN’s VITA program, located in the David Nazarian College of Business and Economics, serves as a valuable community partner that is responsive to the culturally diverse San Fernando Valley. For more information about the program or to volunteer, call (818) 677-4519.