Students to Offer Tax Prep Help to Community
Cal Poly Pomona has enhanced its free income tax preparation services, thanks to a new partnership with the California State Board of Equalization.
Those who attend Tax Day 2013 on Saturday, March 2 in the new College of Business Administration complex will receive free tax assistance as well as chance to talk with representatives from 20 different agencies that offer services, discounts and assistance to low-income households and the elderly. Participants include the California Public Utilities Commission, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and the California Economic Development Department.
“Cal Poly Pomona has always tried to be a good community partner,” says adjunct accounting lecturer Bill Foley. “After directing the free income tax services over the course of five years, it became clear to me that many people didn’t know vital assistance programs even existed. We felt that it was our duty to step up and offer expanded services to our neighbors.”
Foley expects volunteers to file 100 tax returns on Tax Day and serve approximately 200 people at the resource fair. The event will kick off at 10 a.m. with visits from Congresswoman Gloria Negrete McLeod and Jerome E. Horton, Board of Equalization chairman. The event will end at 3 p.m.
The Board of Equalization has partnered with other Cal State universities and Rio Hondo Community College to offer these free services to the community.
“We are pleased to join Cal Poly Pomona in helping their students and the residents in the surrounding communities, who earn less than $51,000 a year, file their income tax returns in order to recapture up to $5,891 in Federal Income Tax Credits or EITC,” Horton says. "Every year, Californians fail to claim nearly $1.2 billion in EITC. We are thankful to Cal Poly Pomona for helping recapture these funds for those who need it the most."
People can register online or walk in on the day of the event. Foley asks that participants bring all necessary documents such as Social Security cards and W-2 forms. A full list of necessary paperwork can be viewed on the Accounting Department's website. The free services are available to filers whose income is $51,000 or less.
In addition to Tax Day, business students will continue CBA’s longstanding tradition of providing free income tax assistance on Fridays and Saturdays in the Pomona area until April 13, except March 16, when the locations will be closed. The program, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) will have three locations this year:
- YMCA of Pomona Valley, 1460 E. Holt Ave., Pomona, CA 91767, Fridays noon - 4 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
- Boys & Girls Club of Pomona Valley, 1420 S. Garey Ave. Pomona, CA 91766, Saturdays 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
- Pomona Public Library, 625 S. Garey Ave. Pomona, CA 91769, Saturdays 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Those assisting with tax preparation include accounting students enrolled in a service learning course, members of student club Beta Alpha Psi (an honors society for finance students), and recent accounting alumni. To participate, all volunteers must pass the most advanced level VITA tests administered by the IRS and are overseen by Foley, who has more than 30 years of experience working as a certified public accountant. Foley also will be assisted by enrolled agents – professional tax preparers who have credentials with the IRS.
(Photo: Students helping clients with their taxes at the Pomona YMCA in March 2011)