Free tax preparation at Cal State Long Beach

LONG BEACH - Accounting majors at Cal State Long Beach are assisting students and members of the public with their 2010 tax returns free of charge through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, which runs until March 25 at the university.VITA is a cooperative effort by the IRS and individual states, including California, to provide income tax assistance to low- and moderate-income people, the handicapped and the elderly. Volunteers are trained to prepare basic income tax returns, which can take up to 30 minutes to prepare. Every year Cal State Long Beach's volunteers prepare hundreds of returns for people both on and off campus. "Cal State Long Beach provides this great program every year, and it's a win-win for our clients, who receive the service, and for the VITA volunteers, who get valuable hands-on experience," said Amanda Baldwin, this year's student VITA coordinator. This year's program has about 40 volunteers who have been trained and certified by the IRS to prepare and E-file basic income tax returns and foreign student tax returns. They are also qualified to answer many tax questions or concerns. There are limitations to those who can use the service, however. Volunteers do not prepare business tax returns, and the program can only assist those who made less than $50,000 in 2010. People interested in having their 2010 tax returns prepared through the VITA program should bring the following items: proof of identification; social security cards, including spouse's and dependents'; current year's tax package; wage and earnings statements (W-2, W-2G, 1099-R, from all employers); and interest and dividend statements from banks (1099 forms). Additionally, clients also should try to bring a copy of their federal and state returns from last year, if available; bank routing numbers and account numbers for direct deposit; total paid for day-care provider and the daycare provider's tax identification number; and, if a client paid rent for at least half of 2010 for property in California, the rental dates and landlord's information. When filing taxes electronically on a married filing joint tax return, both spouses must be present to sign the required forms. The program operates out of Room 237 on the second floor of CSULB's College of Business Administration building off Bellflower Boulevard. It is open Monday through Friday, and guests should use the metered parking lot in Lot 15, adjacent to the building. Walk-ins are welcome, but an appointment can be made by calling Amanda Baldwin at (951) 235-1421 or by e-mailing vita.csulb@gmail.com.

********** Published: March 3, 2011 - Volume 9 - Issue 46