CSULB students to offer free tax prep for lower income families, others in need

Amid the pandemic, more than 50 bilingual accounting students will be offering free tax preparation services to lower-income families as part of virtual tax day events for the next two Saturdays, Cal State Long Beach announced.

Starting from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance clinic, which is an IRS-sponsored program, will be providing the free service for families earning $57,000 or less, as well as people with disabilities, older adults, students, non-residents and individuals with limited English proficiency.

There will be students preparing the taxes who speak both English and Spanish. VITA coordinator Briana Martin said that there are also a few students who speak Tagalog and Russian, which may be useful for international students seeking help.

Especially this year, Martin said the clinic wanted to extend its free annual tax prep services to help more people.

“Saving people some money can relieve a little bit of stress,” she said.

Those receiving service must bring the following original documentation:

  • Government issued photo ID or driver’s license.
  • Original social security card or documents of individual taxpayer identification number.
  • All W-2’s and 1099’s (if any).
  • Other income and expense information.
  • Students or parents of students should bring total tuition fees and expenses paid (form 1098-T).
  • Parents bring total expenses paid for child’s daycare, if any.
  • Daycare or dependent care provider’s address, phone and social security number (SSN) or employer identification number (EIN).
  • Bank account and routing number (can be shown through a voided check) for direct deposit of refund.
  • Last year’s tax return is helpful, but not required.
  • To file taxes electronically on a married-filing-joint tax return, both spouses must be present to sign the required forms.

Martin said the tax day events will function as a virtual walk-ins. Here are the links to both days:

Aside from the Saturday events, VITA also offers services Mondays through Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., but participants must make appointments (click here) for the weekday tax clinics.

However, Martin said that weekdays appointments offer a more limited staff, so language diversity will also be limited because the student volunteers have different shifts. For those who have limited English proficiency, she recommends attending the Saturday events to ensure that all the bilingual students are present.

Should anyone have any questions about the free program, contact VITA Coordinator Briana Martin at [email protected]

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Crystal Niebla is the West Long Beach reporter through the Report for America program. Philanthropic organizations pledged to cover the local donor portion of her grant-funded position with the Post. If you want to support Crystal's work, you can donate to her Report For America position at lbpost.com/support.