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CSUN Students to Provide Free Tax Preparation Help to Low-Income People

January 21, 2020

CSUN Students to Provide Free Tax Preparation Help to Low-Income People by Carmen Ramos Chandler, CSUN Today

This may be a presidential election year, but don’t get lost in the politics of it all. Taxes are still due by April 15.

To help meet that deadline, California State University, Northridge’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Clinic in the David Nazarian College of Business and Economics is offering free tax preparation assistance to low-income families and individuals, including non-English speakers, people with disabilities and veterans, from Jan. 25 through April 15 at CSUN and satellite locations throughout Los Angeles County.

“We are excited to build on the continued growth of providing free tax preparation services to low-income taxpayers in the community, and being recognized as the largest such provider in Los Angeles County,” said Rafael Efrat, Bookstein Chair in Taxation and the director of the CSUN VITA Clinic.

“This year the CSUN VITA Clinic is spearheading once again a major initiative, as part of the CSU5 initiative to expand capacity of free tax preparation countywide by offering support, training and guidance to local community colleges and other universities to launch or expand their own VITA site,” Efrat said. “The goal of this initiative is to dramatically expand access to free tax preparation services in Los Angeles County and to build an infrastructure for a sustained offering of free tax preparation services countywide.”

The CSUN VITA Clinic is staffed by IRS-certified student volunteers and will be available to taxpayers six days a week at CSUN’s campus and 15 additional locations — including sites in Panorama City, Pacoima, Canoga Park, Van Nuys, City of San Fernando, North Hollywood, Sun Valley and Glendale. A list of locations, dates and times can be found on the clinic’s website.

The clinic accepts walk-ins, but it is highly recommended that taxpayers schedule an appointment through the VITA website. A list of documents and forms of identification taxpayers must bring to their session can be found on the website.

The maximum gross income limitation per tax return has been set at $56,000 in 2019. However, the CSUN VITA Clinic cannot serve certain taxpayers with complex returns. A complete list of returns that cannot be completed by the clinic can also be found on VITA’s website.

More than 400 CSUN student volunteers complete intensive training on handling federal and state tax returns. In addition to providing service to the community, the CSUN VITA Clinic also gives students an opportunity to gain firsthand knowledge and experience in their field of study.

Launched in 1970, the CSUN VITA Clinic is housed in the Bookstein Institute for Higher Education in Taxation, located in the Nazarian College. The clinic provided assistance to more than 8,700 low-income taxpayers in 2019, generating more than $10 million in refunds to low-income taxpayers and $4.8 million in tax credits.

For more information about the CSUN VITA Clinic, call (818) 677-3600 or email  .  More information about the Nazarian College can be found on its website.