News Release| VITA 2010; Cal State L.A.

Cal State L.A. offers free income tax assistance through Mar. 27

Students help community with tax returns;
VITA site sets goal for 500

Los Angeles, CA – The Cal State L.A. VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) Program has begun offering free income-tax preparation services for low- to moderate-income individuals ($49,000 or less) who cannot prepare their own tax returns. Both the traditional electronic filing and the new freefile program will be available at the CSULA site.

On Saturdays through Mar. 27, VITA services for the 2010 tax season will take place on the third floor of Salazar Hall, room 343. It will operate on a first-come, first-served basis from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.  Appointments are not necessary.

Since 1998, the Internal Revenue Service and Cal State L.A. accounting faculty have trained Cal State L.A. students to make a difference in their communities as part of the VITA program, providing an excellent service-learning opportunity for the final-year accounting students. 

This year, Cal State L.A.’s Association of Latinos Professionals in Finance and Accounting (ALPFA) is mainly responsible for coordinating the VITA site. In that capacity, ALPFA has took the lead in raising the necessary funds, training the student-volunteers, and launching a promotional campaign to serve more clients during this tax season.

VITA site manager Jesse Portugal said, “The Cal State L.A. VITA program is a premier community service program, which last year prepared 447 accurate federal and state income tax returns and refunded $374,049 to the surrounding community. The CSULA VITA program was the recipient of the prestigious ‘Lowest Rejection Rate’ award for the 2009 filing season. I’m involved with VITA because I am able to provide underserved taxpayers a necessary, unique service, which can only be provided by accountants and trained accounting students.” 

Assistant site manager Danyel Almares said, “As the economy turns up and down, people will need all the help they can get. And, I’m glad that our volunteers can give them that help. It is such a joy to show the client their refund and see it dawn on them that they paid nothing to have their taxes done right.”

According to David Hossain, VITA site coordinator and assistant professor of accounting at Cal State L.A., “This year our goal is to reach the 500/500 mark; 500 tax returns with $500k of much needed tax refunds to taxpayers living in our surrounding communities.”

For more details, go to /programs/vita/ or call (323) 215-5486.

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Working for California since 1947: The 175-acre hilltop campus of California State University, Los Angeles is at the heart of a major metropolitan city, just five miles from Los Angeles’ civic and cultural center. More than 20,000 students and 210,000 alumni—with a wide variety of interests, ages and backgrounds—reflect the city’s dynamic mix of populations. Six colleges offer nationally recognized science, arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education and humanities programs, among others, led by an award-winning faculty. Cal State L.A. is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Jazz Orchestra and to a unique university center for gifted students as young as 12. Programs that provide exciting enrichment opportunities to students and community include an NEH- and Rockefeller-supported humanities center; a NASA-funded center for space research; and a growing forensic science program, housed in the Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center. www.calstatela.edu