Accounting and Information Systems

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Welcome to the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program

The CSUN VITA Program in the Department of Accounting and Information Systems of the College of Business and Economics is a student organization providing free professional tax preparation services to low-income individuals and families throughout the San Fernando Valley. The Program also provides specialized services for senior citizens, non-English speakers, and the disabled. 

Program Objectives

  • To provide quality tax information and income tax preparation service at no charge.
  • To connect our higher education institution with our diverse neighboring communities.
  • To provide a business environment where students can experience and actively participate in diverse cultural and linguistic interactions with the public.
  • To enhance CSUN’s business curriculum by increasing the use of active-learning strategies based on direct experience.
  • To combine academic study with service to the community.
  • To help students become independent, reflective, motivated, flexible, competent, disciplined, and confident.
  • To enhance students’ technical skills (tax knowledge, client interaction, and computer skills).

Mission to the Community

The mission of the California State University, Northridge, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program is to be a valued community partner in the culturally and linguistically diverse San Fernando Valley area. The VITA program provides timely and relevant federal and state information to the community concerning taxpayers’ rights and responsibilities. In addition, this program satisfies the widespread need for free tax return assistance, primarily for low-income individuals, senior citizens, non-English-speaking individuals, and the disabled located in CSUN’s surrounding community.

Training Experience

Before going into the field, volunteers attend a 24-hour training program during January. Through this program, Students gain valuable “hands-on” experience preparing federal and state tax returns, and they learn the important skills required to service a VITA site. In addition, all students receive CSUN course credit.

Advance courses are available for volunteers with prior experience. These advance courses will train students to become VITA site supervisors. Volunteers with no prior experience will receive two units of credit. Supervisors will receive three units of credit.

Our History

The VITA program was started to address a specific need in the community. There are many people in the community who cannot afford to pay for income-tax preparation or do not understand the tax forms or are not aware of their tax rights and responsibilities. To address this, CSUN opened the first VITA center in 1971. Since then, the concept of students preparing tax returns for no charge to low-income taxpayers has spread to other colleges and universities throughout the United States.

Volunteer Protection

The Volunteer Protection Act of 1997, Public Law 105-19, protects volunteers from liability for negligent acts they perform within the scope of their responsibilities in the organization for who they volunteer. The Act excludes conduct that is willful or criminal, grossly negligent, or reckless, or that constitutes a conscious, vagrant indifference to the rights or safety of the individual potentially harmed by the volunteer. Click Here to Download Details

Civil Rights

Under no circumstances will the Internal Revenue Service tolerate discrimination by its employees, grantees, contractors, and/or subcontractors. NO ONE shall be excluded from participating in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination because of race, color, sex, national origin, disability, reprisal, or age in programs or activities funded by the Department of Treasury - Internal Revenue Service.

Any person who believes that he/she has been discriminated against on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, disability, reprisal or age in programs or activities receiving financial assistance (e.g., Low Income Tax Clinics, Tax Counseling for the Elderly) from the Department of Treasury - IRS may submit a written complaint to:

Executive Director National Headquarters
Office of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI)
Internal Revenue Service
1111 Constitution Avenue, NW Room 2422
Washington, DC 20224