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Cal Poly's free tax assistance program opens for the season

The program will run through March 14, 2020
Posted at 4:56 PM, Feb 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-01 22:06:18-05

If filing your taxes is confusing and stressful, Cal Poly accounting students are here to help.

Cal Poly's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA), began Saturday morning and is a free service for those looking to file their taxes.

All tax returns are prepared by Cal Poly accounting students who have gone through extensive training and have passed IRS volunteer exams.

Those returns are then reviewed by Cal Poly Faculty and local certified tax professionals.

“There’s a lot of people that come back from previous years. We also have a lot of people coming in who are new. Today alone, I’ve had probably at least half of my people that are coming back from previous years," said Ally Evans, another tax preparer and accounting student at Cal Poly.

There are a few requirements, however, to qualify for the free assistance.

“We can only handle tax payers that have gross income of less than $54,000. Beyond that, we can’t have any rental income or income from partnerships. As well as marriages filing separately. So if you are married and want to file separately, that’s something that would be out of scope for VITA," said Bo Cole, a student and tax preparer for the program.

The program is sponsored by the California Franchise Tax Board, the Internal Revenue Service and the Orfalea College of Business.

The staff recommends community members arrive at Cal Poly before 1 p.m. to allow sufficient time to complete returns accurately due to each client's process being expected to last from two to four hours.

The tax preparations are held at Orfalea College of Business on the third floor. They open at 10 a.m. and go on until 2 p.m.

No appointments are needed; people will be served on a first-come basis. The program will run through March 14, 2020.