Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tax Benefits at Hass and Associates Accounting: Cal State Long Beach Accounting Majors Offer Free Tax Preparation

Jennfer Mae Formeloza is coordinating Cal State Long Beach’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, which offers free tax preparation to low- and moderate-income filers. 
LONG BEACH >> Football season is over and tax season is upon us.

Those looking for help can try a free tax preparation service offered by accounting majors at Cal State Long Beach through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.

The outreach runs through March 28 at the university and offers income tax assistance to low- and moderate-income taxpayers, the disabled, elderly and those who speak limited English.

VITA is a cooperative effort with the Internal Revenue Service. Funded through the campus Beta Alpha Psi and Accounting Society chapters, the program aims to help those who can’t afford to pay for tax preparation.

Campus officials said each year hundreds of tax returns are filed through the program, which has the added benefit of giving students valuable experience in accounting.

Sudha Krishnan, a professor in the Accountancy Department at CSULB and director of VITA, said the program gives students the opportunity to work with the public, something employers look for on resumes.

“It’s service back to society,” she said. “They learn how to give back and they learn to take that first step in their careers. Many of these students end up going to tax firms. They go out to work and they’ve taken that first step. They don’t need to be trained from scratch.”

Sixty student volunteers with IRS training and certification are available this year to prepare and electronically file basic income tax returns and foreign student tax returns. They can also ask questions or discuss concerns.

“Students have the opportunity to interact face to face with members of the community and make a direct impact,” said Jennifer Mae Formeloza, this year’s student VITA coordinator, in a news release. “Our profession is based on ethics. It takes a lot of trust to share something so personal, and that’s why I think this program helps students further understand their responsibilities to the public.”

VITA is designed for those who earned $51,567 or less in 2013. The program doesn’t do itemized or business tax returns.

To make use of the program, taxpayers should bring their wage, earnings and dividend statements, as well as proof of identification and their Social Security cards, including those of their spouses and dependents.

Clients are also encouraged to bring a copy of their federal and state returns from last year, if available. They will need to have their bank routing numbers and account numbers for direct deposit. If filing taxes electronically on a married filing joint tax return, both spouses must be present to sign the required forms.

Those who used day-care should bring the provider’s business employer identification or Social Security number. Renters need to bring the rental dates and landlord’s name, address and phone number.

The CSULB VITA program operates out of Room 237 on the second floor of the College of Business Administration Building off Bellflower Boulevard. Volunteers prepare returns from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Fridays. The site will be closed on Monday, Feb. 17.

Walk-ins are welcome, and CSULB advises the public to use the metered parking in Lot 15, adjacent to the CBA Building. The cost is $2 per hour.

For more information, e-mail vita.csulb@gmail.com.

Recommended Reading:


Post a Comment