This year marks the 50th anniversary of CSUN’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Clinic – and what an unprecedented year it has been. In the face of monumental challenges posed by a global pandemic, CSUN VITA, a service of the CSUN David Nazarian College of Business and Economics, never lost sight of its mission: to provide free tax preparation assistance for low-income taxpayers.
When the pandemic put a halt to face-to-face services at all of our VITA sites in mid-March, our faculty and student volunteers did what they do best: think innovatively and strategically. Thanks to their vision, by May, with the approval of the IRS, many individuals were able to access safe and secure assistance through a virtual platform. I am tremendously proud to witness the difference this program has made in the communities we serve. We are honored that the CSUN VITA Clinic is once again the largest VITA site in Southern California among 405 VITA locations and the largest academic institution nationally among 514 institutions offering free tax preparation services.
After 50 years, CSUN VITA’s impact only continues to grow. Last year, with the support of donors and corporate partners, the CSUN VITA Clinic led the launch of the CSU5 Plus VITA Collaboration between CSUN and four other CSU campuses and six L.A.-based community colleges — benefiting more taxpayers than ever before and stretching its services to every corner of Los Angeles County. CSUN VITA has also inspired more than 8,000 clinics around the country, helping families in all 50 states.
Thanks to the program’s impactful work in the community, individuals who otherwise would not be able to afford assistance are now able to receive the maximum amount of tax refunds and credits due to them. And in keeping with the university’s academic mission, thousands of Matador students have also received invaluable real-world career training, as well as the skills and confidence needed when they embark on their professional careers.
I would like to congratulate Nazarian College Dean Dr. Chandra Subramaniam and Bookstein Chair in Taxation and Director of the Bookstein Institute for Higher Education in Taxation Dr. Raf Efrat for their leadership, especially during such a challenging time. CSUN VITA represents what this university is truly about: preparing our students with a world-class education and harnessing their talents and knowledge to improve our communities. I look forward to seeing our Matador students, faculty and community partners continue to collaborate to make a difference in so many lives.