April 15 is a lot closer than one would think. With a little more than 10 weeks to go until tax day, the students who make up California State University, 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 provides free assistance with state and federal tax preparation to low-income families and individuals, non-English speakers, senior citizens and persons with disabilities through March 29 at sites throughout the San Fernando Valley and the greater Los Angeles area.
Catherine Jeppson, director of CSUN’s VITA program, said she anticipates there will be high demand for the program.
“With the state of the economy, we expect a lot of people will be seeking out the free tax preparation services our students provide,” she said, noting that the first sessions are scheduled this weekend, including one coordinated with the State Controller John Chiang’s office at the North Valley Occupational Center in Mission Hills.
For a list of Cal State Northridge 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 income limitation per income tax return has been set at $58,000. Those seeking assistance must bring their social security cards.
Hundreds of Cal State 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 CSUN students an opportunity to gain knowledge and experience in their field of study. Among the languages VITA students speak are Armenian, Russian and Spanish.
Last year, Cal State Northridge students helped members of the public file 5,000 tax forms and saved them more than $2 million in tax preparation fees and refundable credits. These figures do not include all the money refunded back to the tax payers.
Formed in 1971, Cal State Northridge’s VITA program, located in the College of Business and Economics, 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 visits its website www.csun.edu/vita/.