Southwestern College announced Friday that student volunteers will offer free tax services to fellow students and community members.
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program at Southwestern College offers help with tax returns, back taxes and offers the ability to speak one-on-one with tax professionals. VITA is a partnership between South Bay Community Services and the college.
The two previous VITA sessions this year at Southwestern College have already helped with dozens of tax returns for students and local community members. Three more sessions are scheduled for March 25, April 8 and April 15.
This is the second year Southwestern College has been involved with the VITA program and the first year the program has been on campus as a “mobile” site. The previous year was operated at SBCS where volunteers assisted with more than 1,000 tax returns.
“We were so fortunate to have the new January Short Session semester this year,” said Southwestern College Professor Maria Martinez-Sanabria, who oversees the program on campus. “This gave us the opportunity to get our student volunteers the required training to be a part of the program.“
It is an opportunity of which the student volunteers are proud.
“I thought it would be great experience, a way to find out if I liked taxes,” said Dalena Nguyen, a Southwestern College student, accounting tutor and VITA volunteer. “I wanted to become more familiar with taxes and thought it would be great experience to put on my résumé.”
Wanting to capitalize on the program’s success, Martinez-Sanabria hopes to expand the program in the future to help more people.
“Being a mobile site, we are limited on the number of days we can operate. The goal is to expand in a year to become a full-service program,” said Martinez-Sanabria.
For more information go to www.swccd.edu/VITA.
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