The annual Voluntary Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) is back to offer free tax preparation to both students and non-students.
Through the program, which is located in Room 3218 of the Business Education Building, Business 10 students offer free income tax preparation for anyone making less than $40,000 a year.
The program is available every Wednesday through April 9, from 6 p.m. to 9 pm. It also occurs every Saturday through April 12, from 9 a.m. to noon.
Business 10 is open for every student at Pierce College and there is no prerequisite. Students must enroll in a winter session that teaches them to prepare income taxes and also in a spring session during which they can prepare their taxes and assist others with their paper work.
The program, which has been around for 30 years, is available on a first come, first served basis at no charge.
Business 10 students can learn how to prepare tax returns and submit them by themselves, according to David Braun, business administration department chair.
“This program is good for everybody,” Braun said.
The deadline for tax returns is April 15.
Alina Popov, a photography major enrolled in the Business 10 program, is excitement about the course.
“We can learn tax preparation and at the same time, we can help others,” Popov explained. “It is a very good feeling.”
Preparations are carefully checked. First, students make tax preparations. Then, they take it to an experienced instructor. The instructor checks it and if they find a mistake, they show students how to correct it.
After students correct any mistakes, the instructor makes sure everything is correct. If there are no corrections, the preparation is given back to the taxpayer.
Yoshiko Maki, a Woodland Hills resident who learned about the program through a flier in the mail, was concerned about the accuracy of the program’s advice and intends to check it with an accountant.
Charlie Su, an experienced volunteer with the program, has confidence in the program’s professionalism.
“I’ve never had the accident that our students misguide tax preparation to visitors,” said Su.
Braun noted that the IRS recognized the Pierce program as doing an outstanding job, as the service has helped 400 to 500 taxpayers annually.
The program serves as a good public relations opportunity for Pierce. Maki, who originally went to Pierce only to prepare for taxes, became very interested in the courses offered at Pierce after taking tax assistance
“I want to recommend Pierce to my niece,” Maki said.
Braun said that it is common for the visitors’ sons or daughters to start studying at Pierce.