How to get help with tax return prep in Long Beach

If tax season brings you anxiety and fear, you might be in luck: Long Beach City College and Cal State Long Beach and even Poly High School have volunteers ready to help.

Through Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), students and faculty can help taxpayers who made less than $54,000 in 2018. VITA is an IRS program that certifies accounting students to prepare basic tax returns for individuals who are low-income, students, elderly, non-residents, disabled or limited in English proficiency. The volunteers can also help their clients find out if they qualify for any special tax credits.

The VITA clinic runs at LBCC until April 6 and is open Mondays and Wednesdays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in room M-117 of the M Building on LBCC’s Liberal Arts Campus at 4901 E. Carson St., Long Beach.

At CSULB, the VITA clinic is open until March 29, Mondays through Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the COB 243 Computer Lab.

Tax preparation will take at least an hour. No appointments are necessary. Parking is not free on either campus.

Poly High School has a VITA clinic too. Its high school volunteers are certified by the IRS and supervised by a teacher, just like their college counterparts. They are available weekdays from 3 to 6 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. by appointment. Call 562-607-7986 for an appointment.

Poly’s VITA will be having walk-in days on April 13 and 14, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Be prepared for your session at any of the clinics with the following documents:

  • Proof of identification. Married spouses must attend together.
  • Social Security cards or individual taxpayer identification cards or notices for all listed on the return
  • All W-2, 1099 and 1098 forms
  • Deduction and credit information
  • Total expenses paid for childcare or daycare
  • Daycare or dependent-care provider’s address, phone and identifying number (SSN or EIN)
  • Forms 1095-A, 1095-B or 1095-C when applicable
  • Last year’s tax return
  • Direct deposit information

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Valerie Osier is a breaking news and crime reporter for the Long Beach Post. She’s a Riverside native who found her love for journalism while at community college. She graduated from Cal State University, Long Beach journalism program in 2017 and covered the Palos Verdes Peninsula for the Daily Breeze prior to coming to the Post. She lives in Long Beach with her husband, Steven, and her cat/child, Jones.