News Release| VITA Program; Cal State L.A.

February 10, 2011

Free income tax assistance offered at Cal State L.A. through Apr. 2

Accounting students certified by IRS to help community with tax returns

Los Angeles, CA – With traditional electronic filing and the new freefile program available, the Cal State L.A.s VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) Program is now offering free income-tax preparation services for low- to moderate-income individuals ($49,000 or less) who cannot prepare their own tax returns.

On Saturdays through Apr. 2, VITA services for the 2011 tax season will take place on the third floor of Salazar Hall, room 343. It will operate on a first-come, first-served basis from 9 a.m. to 12 noon.  Appointments are not necessary.

Since there are certain limitations and requirements that are mandated by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), tax filers are encouraged to see what they should bring with them as well as what types of returns can and cannot be done. For details, go to /programs/vita/ or call (323) 215-5486.

“Beginning in the fall quarter, the number of volunteers trained was expanded from its normal 60 student capacity to 90,” said VITA site manager and director of marketing Frank Murguia. “This was done in part to reduce the wait time of clients, and to expand the number of students who would receive real-world tax accounting experience. In addition, an aggressive marketing plan was developed to ensure that the community will be aware of the services that CSULA students provide as our goal is to process 500 returns for this tax season.” 

Assistant site manager Narbeh Malakian said, “It is a special feeling to see people come to our school and leave happy by getting the maximum amount of tax refund that they should get. I feel very lucky to be part of a program that serves the community by giving the opportunity to the students to apply their knowledge in to a real practice.”

The Internal Revenue Service and Cal State L.A. faculty have trained and certified Cal State L.A. students to make a difference in their communities as part of the VITA program for 13 years, providing an excellent service-learning opportunity for the final-year accounting students.  The CSULA VITA site is coordinated by David Hossain, associate professor of accounting at Cal State L.A.

In 2010, the CSULA VITA program received the prestigious “Lowest Rejection Rate” award from the IRS for the second year in a row and a Maria Shriver Letter of Recognition for providing outstanding services to the community for the past few years.

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Working for California since 1947: The 175-acre hilltop campus of California State University, Los Angeles is at the heart of a major metropolitan city, just five miles from Los Angeles’ civic and cultural center. More than 20,000 students and 215,000 alumni—with a wide variety of interests, ages and backgrounds—reflect the city’s dynamic mix of populations. Six Colleges offer nationally recognized science, arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education and humanities programs, among others, led by an award-winning faculty. Cal State L.A. is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Jazz Orchestra and to a unique university center for gifted students as young as 12. Programs that provide exciting enrichment opportunities to students and community include an NEH- and Rockefeller-supported humanities center; a NASA-funded center for space research; and a growing forensic science program, housed in the Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center.