Poly Provides Free Tax Prep for Underserved Communities

Written by Estero Bay News

February 10, 2022

Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business is once again providing free tax return preparation assistance through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. Cal Poly’s on-campus VITA clinics will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays through March 12. 

This year, all community members are required to schedule an appointment at www.myfreetaxes.org. 

More than 50 Cal Poly accounting students will prepare tax returns as part of the VITA program, which is sanctioned by and coordinated with the Internal Revenue Service and California Franchise Tax Board. These IRS-certified students will prepare returns while Orfalea College of Business faculty and volunteer certified public accountants review and file the returns. Students will prepare basic forms for local individuals and families earning less than $58,000. These include 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ, 540, 540A, 540EZ and some supporting forms. 

The Cal Poly clinic takes place on the third floor of the Business Building (No. 3). The clinic is wheelchair accessible. Visitors should enter the western edge of campus on California Boulevard and follow the signs. Parking is free and available in lots C4 and C7 near the Business Building. See https://maps.calpoly.edu/ for parking lot locations. 

Participants need to bring their ID, Social Security card and/or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number; 2020 tax returns; and all 2021 tax-related documents, including: child-care expenses, Letter 6419 for monthly advance Child Tax Credit payments, Letter 6475 (if you received a third round of stimulus checks in 2021), and health insurance coverage information. 

Due to new COVID protocols, participants must wear a mask and bring proof of vaccination or proof of a negative COVID test within 72 hours of visit. In addition, only one representative from each family will be permitted to enter the building. 

Clients have the option of filling out necessary forms available on the VITA program website (vita.calpoly.edu), dropping them off at the clinic, and returning the following weekend to review the tax return and sign necessary documents. 

Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business has hosted VITA clinics on campus since 1992. In the last decade, students have helped prepare more than 7,000 tax returns for community members. The clinics serve as a valuable, hands-on senior project, allowing students to prepare returns, interact with clients and help underserved communities. 

Students also have the chance to work with faculty members and tax professionals. This year’s VITA program is led by Cal Poly faculty members Trisha Daughtrey and Christine Lebar of San Luis Obispo. 

For more information, call 805-756-2667 (English and Spanish) or visit vita.calpoly.edu. For more details on the United Way clinics, call 805-922-0329, ext. 103.

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