VITA Program | Spotlight

Jesse Portugal (CSULA alumnus and VITA site manager):

Jesse Portugal.

“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 am currently working for the Internal Revenue Service’s Small Business/Self-Employed Division as a revenue agent. With the intention of serving the needy, I started volunteering with VITA during the 2009 filing tax season as a quality control leader. I’m continually 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.”

Danyel Almares (CSULA accounting major and VITA assistant site manager):

Danyel Almares.

“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!

The volunteers are aspiring students who take on responsibilities and obligation on top of their schoolwork, job duties and even family. They want to be volunteers because for them it is part of the path to the future they want. For me, it is a chance to watch them accomplish their goals. It is most rewarding to be able to help the volunteers learn and grow.”

Free VITA services for 2010 tax season

IRS-trained Cal State L.A. volunteers to help file tax returns

A Volunteer Income Tax Assistance – or VITA – session at Cal State L.A.

Every Saturday until March 27, the Cal State L.A. VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) Program is offering free income-tax preparation services for low- to moderate-income individuals ($49,000 or less) who cannot prepare their own tax returns.

The CSULA VITA site 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.

Both the traditional electronic filing and the new freefile program will be available at the CSULA VITA site.

Since 1998, the Internal Revenue Service and Cal State L.A. 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.

For more information, go to /programs/vita/.

Education Tax Breaks:

The new American Opportunity Credit expands significantly the federal tax breaks for higher education for tax years 2009 and 2010. For example, the maximum tax credit is up to $2,500 per student; the credit can be claimed for four years; and more expenses (including books) qualify. For details:,,id=205674,00.html.

1098-T for CSULA students:

Student Financial Services is pleased to announce a new function on the CSULA GET account. CSULA students may now go online to download their 1098-T tax form. (Click “Self Service” and go to “Student Center” to access form.) In addition, hard copies of the tax form have been mailed out. (Note: Students are urged to use caution when using public computers due to social security number being disclosed on the 1098-T form. Please log out of the GET account completely after viewing the form.) For more information, contact the CSULA Student Financial Services at (323) 343-5357.

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