Accounting students at CSUSB offer free tax preparation

     

Cal State San Bernardino’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program will offer free income tax preparation to Inland Empire low-income and elderly taxpayers again this year through April 13.

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Joan M. Rigney, (l) works with CSUSB student Tina Shoemaker. Cal State San Bernardino’€™s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program offer free income tax preparation to Inland Empire low-income and elderly taxpayers. Photo: Corinne McCurdy/CSUSB

CSUSB accounting students will be available to prepare tax returns on campus and at five other San Bernardino County locations for low-income and elderly taxpayers who have a maximum income of $60,000.

The service is sponsored by the Internal Revenue Service and California’s Franchise Tax Board.

“We have several professional certified public accountants that assist us each year to review the work of our student volunteers,” said Janet Courts, adjunct faculty in CSUSB’s accounting department and VITA coordinator for 11 years. “This year, we are fortunate to have an additional CPA to help us review the work of the students. These CPAs have nearly 80 years of combined tax accounting experience, which benefit the VITA program.”

Courts said last year’s accounting student volunteers received more than 2,700 hours of training in preparing basic tax returns, including those with itemized deductions, earned income credit, education credit, dependent care credit and child tax credit.

She said that this is the 30th consecutive year that Cal State San Bernardino student volunteers have prepared tax forms for local residents. This year’s free tax assistance will be held at various community locations and no appointment is necessary.

Saturdays, from Feb. 2-April 13, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at:

  • Norman F. Feldheym Central Library, 555 West 6th St., San Bernardino (closed Feb. 16 in observance of President’s Day)

Saturdays, beginning Feb. 9 through April 13, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at:

  • Northtown Community Center, 10071 Feron Blvd., Rancho Cucamonga
  • Fontana Boys and Girls Club, 7723 Almeria Ave., Fontana (note from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.)

Wednesdays (February only), Feb. 6-27, from 1-6 p.m. at:

  • Cal State San Bernardino, Jack Brown Hall, fourth floor

Fridays, Feb. 8-April 12, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at:

  • Boys and Girls Club of Redlands, 1251 Clay St., Redlands
  • Family Resource Center, 1525 W. Highland Ave., San Bernardino

“Now, more than ever, with the depressed economy in the Inland Empire, the VITA program continues to provide a valuable service to those who could otherwise not afford this level of service,” said Courts.

Last year, about 90 CSUSB volunteers worked more than 6,500 hours preparing nearly 1,850 tax returns, which yielded combined federal and state refunds totaling more than $1.5 million.

To participate in the program, taxpayers must bring valid photo identification and Social Security or ITIN cards for each taxpayer, as well as for 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.VITA_DA0G3532

Volunteers are unable to prepare tax returns for nonresident aliens, small business owners, owners of rental properties or those who are married but filing separately.

The VITA program is made possible through the generosity of the Boys and Girls Club of Redlands, Fontana Boys and Girls Club, the Family Resource Center, Inland Empire United Way, Norman Feldheym Library and the San Bernardino Unified School District.

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  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 news.csusb.edu.