Sessions in English and Spanish are scheduled throughout February, March, April
Southwestern College students are gaining hands-on experience by providing free tax-preparation services in English and Spanish to low-income community members and fellow Southwestern College students.
For the third year in a row, low-income community members and Southwestern College students can come to a session at the Southwestern College Chula Vista campus and get their taxes prepared and filed for free. Southwestern College student volunteers work one-on-one to prepare the tax returns and a coordinator from South Bay Community Services files them.
Through Southwestern College’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, students gain more than 30 hours of tax-preparation training through South Bay Community Services and must pass a test administrated by the Internal Revenue Service.
When Accounting Professor Maria Martinez-Sanabria was in college, she was a VITA volunteer for two years. That experience made Martinez-Sanabria want to bring the program to Southwestern College three years ago.
“It was such a worthwhile experience for me as a student and it’s such a valuable service to the community,” Martinez-Sanabria said.
Students who volunteer with the VITA program not only get professional experience and learn how to correctly file tax forms, they learn how to use IRS-supplied software and a receive a letter of recommendation from the IRS upon completion. Students who are also in Southwestern College’s business work experience class can get college credits.
Ivette Larios, a Southwestern College business major with a focus in finance, is volunteering for the second year in a row. The program, she said, has helped her gain confidence in her skills and gave her her first work experience in the business industry.
“It helps us learn and get experience, but I just love seeing the people smile when they’re done,” Larios said. “It’s really nice helping them out, we do it for free, we answer their questions and we get great training.”
What to Bring
The services are available on a first come, first serve basis to anyone who’s earned less than $54,000 during 2016. Those interested in the services should bring:
- Tax documents (W-2s, 1099s, etc.)
- Social Security Cards for you and each member of your family member you plan to report on your tax returns
- Married participants must have their spouse present
Mondays: Feb. 6, 13, 27 from 5-7 p.m.
Wednesdays: Feb. 8, 15, 22 from 5-7 p.m.
Fridays: Feb. 10, 20 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Mondays: March 6, 13, 20 from 5-7 p.m.
Wednesdays: March 1, 8, 15, 22 from 5-7 p.m.
Fridays: March, 3, 10, 24 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Mondays: April 3, 10, 17 from 5-7 p.m.
Wednesdays: April 5, 12 from 5-7 p.m.
Fridays: April 7, 14 from 10 am.-3 p.m.
Room 203 (near the bus stop)
900 Otay Lakes Road
Chula Vista, CA 91910
Free parking in Lot B (white-lined spaces only)
For more information, call 619-420-3620.