March has arrived and that means tax time is just around the corner. The students who make up Cal State Northridge’s Wayne and Roberta Colmer Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program want to remind the public that they are available to help members of the community prepare their taxes.
The VITA program is providing free assistance with state and federal tax preparation to low-income families and individuals, non-English speakers, senior citizens and the disabled through March 31 at sites throughout the San Fernando Valley and greater Los Angeles area.
“There are a lot of people out there who need our assistance, particularly in this economy,” said Catherine Jeppson, director of the CSUN’s VITA program. “We have a lot of sites, and more students than ever waiting to assist them.”
For a list of CSUN VITA locations and the dates and times students will be able to provide tax preparation assistance as well as a list of the tax forms the students can prepare, visit VITA’s website at www.csun.edu/vita/.
Due to the large volume of individuals who require assistance, the maximum gross income limitation per income tax return has been set at $50,000. Those seeking assistance must bring their social security cards.
This year, about 325 Northridge students underwent intensive training on handling federal and state tax returns. In addition to providing service to the community, the VITA program also gives Northridge students an opportunity to gain knowledge and experience in their field of study. VITA students and staff speak 30 different languages and dialects.
Last year, Northridge students helped members of the public file 10,000 tax forms and saved them more than $300,000 in tax preparation fees. That figure does not include all the money refunded back to taxpayers.
Formed in 1971, the VITA program serves as a valuable community partner that is responsive to the needs of a culturally diverse San Fernando Valley. For more information about the program, call (818) 677-4519 or visit its website www.csun.edu/vita/.