The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, hosted by the accounting and finance department at CSUSB’s Jack H. Brown College of Business and Public Administration, has once again shown its commitment to community service and financial empowerment. This year, the VITA program facilitated the preparation and filing of 136 tax returns, an achievement that underscores its effectiveness in reaching and assisting a diverse range of taxpayers in the community.

The program volunteers, CSUSB accounting students, have made invaluable contributions to both individuals and families in need during the 2024 tax season. Beyond mere numbers, the impact of these services provides crucial support to individuals navigating the complexities of the tax system.

With a total federal refund amounting to $123,862, participants in the program received much-needed financial relief, enabling them to address various expenses and investments in their lives. Notably, the program facilitated the disbursement of $34,161 in federal Earned Income Credit (EIC), a vital resource for low to moderate-income individuals and families.

The VITA program also demonstrated its effectiveness in maximizing tax benefits for taxpayers through its assistance in claiming education and child-related credits. A total of $70,504 was secured in federal Education Credits, reflecting the program's dedication to helping taxpayers access educational opportunities and alleviate the financial burden of higher education. Additionally, $7,826 in federal Child Tax Credit further enhanced the financial well-being of families, emphasizing the program's commitment to supporting households with dependent children.

On the state level, the VITA program continued its impactful contributions, facilitating a state refund totaling $40,527. This additional financial boost provided by state refunds serves as a vital resource for meeting local obligations and investing in community development initiatives. Furthermore, $11,674 in state Earned Income Credit reaffirms the program's commitment to leveraging available tax benefits to uplift individuals and families in the local community.

Beyond the numbers, the success of the VITA program at CSUSB lies in its dedication to promoting financial literacy, empowerment, and inclusivity. By offering free tax preparation services and ensuring access to critical tax credits and refunds, the program plays a pivotal role in fostering economic resilience and opportunity for all. It also allows the students volunteering to not only get hands-on experience but have a sense of accomplishment as they do so. VITA will return for the spring 2025 semester.