Public Affairs, The California State University

Students Provide Tax Expertise

By Elizabeth Chapin

CSU Fullerton student Anthony Kress works with client Madoka Kitahara on preparing a tax return during a previous year’s VITA effort. Photo by Kelly Lacefield


Every year, thousands of California taxpayers get a helping hand from CSU students at more than a dozen Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites, where students prepare tax returns free of charge.

VITA is a cooperative effort between the IRS and community organizations throughout the country. At universities, business and accounting students provide no-cost advice and assistance to senior citizens, people with disabilities, and anyone with an annual income less than $50,000.

By helping them file correctly, student volunteers provide a valuable service to low-income taxpayers entitled to refunds they may not even know about. That means a bigger return from Uncle Sam, says IRS spokesman Raphael Tulino.

“The work that these students do is so important for communities in California, and when taxpayers spend the extra refund money that VITA helps them get back it brings back money into the local economies,” said Tulino.

The volunteer work also gives business and accounting students real world experience. Student volunteers must go through four days of intense training by the IRS in order to be certified to work at a VITA site.

Find a CSU VITA location near you:

More information about VITA can be found on the IRS website.