California State University San Marcos announced Tuesday it will offer free tax preparation and assistance beginning March 5.
The two programs available are the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Mega Day, which is free and open to the public, and the Facilitated Self-Assistance (FSA) Tax Program, which is open to the CSUSM community.
“It can be easy for people to become frustrated by the complexities of the tax rules and forms, causing some taxpayers to simply not file a return,” said Alan Styles, chair of the Department of Accounting at CSUSM. “However, many of these non-filers may be missing out on receiving a tax refund from the earned income tax credit, putting more cash back in their pocket and avoiding future penalties.”
Both federal and State of California tax laws contain provisions for these tax credits, but whether or not the taxpayers qualify for the credit is based upon such factors as earned income, filing status and number of children.
“Our team of tax volunteers can help taxpayers navigate through the tax rules to determine whether they qualify for various tax benefits.” Styles said.
Taxpayers utilizing the VITA Mega Day will work with student volunteers to prepare and submit federal and state tax returns. CSUSM students attending the FSA tax clinics, complete their tax
returns under the guidance of an accounting student tax coach.
“This arrangement provides a win-win situation for taxpayers and accounting students,” Styles said. “The benefit to taxpayers is the guidance of IRS certified tax volunteers, while the students gain valuable experience through real-life work exposure.”
For more information, contact Maia Farkas, assistant professor of tax accounting, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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