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Frequently Asked Questions


What is VITA?

VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) is a program sponsored by the IRS and Franchise tax Board (FTB). VITA Volunteers receive training, and prepare and electronically file income tax returns for low income, elderly, and disabled taxpayers, free of charge.

What is not covered by VITA?

We DO NOT prepare:

  • Casualty losses
  • Depreciation
  • Married filing separate returns
  • IRA deductions if part is taxable and part tax-free
  • Schedules E or F
  • Inventory
  • Non-Resident returns (residents of a foreign country)

NOTE: The site supervisor may judge an item out of the scope of VITA. Please respect the decision.

Student Volunteers

Students are trained to prepare Federal and California resident tax returns for the low income (less than $60,000 gross income per return).

Who qualifies for the VITA program?

The Scope of the VITA program for 2024 is to provide free income tax preparation to low-income individuals and families throughout the Inland Empire. In addition, services for low income senior citizens, non-English speakers, and the disabled are provided.

Due to the high demand for this valuable service, a $60,000 maximum gross income per return has been implemented for taxpayers seeking assistance. In addition, Social Security Cards or ITIN cards are required for taxpayer, spouse, and all dependents. Picture identification is necessary for taxpayer and spouse.

All taxpayers, including both spouses if filing joint returns, must be present when tax returns are being prepared.

The scope of the program includes the following:

  • 2024 Federal and California individual tax returns
  • Form 1040 (includes Schedules 1-3, A, B, C-EZ, C, SE, D)
  • Preparation of 1040-SR, U.S. Income Tax Return for Seniors
  • EIC (Earned Income Credit)
  • Schedule R (Credit for Elderly)
  • Form 2441 (Credit for Child and Dependent Care Expenses)
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Form 8812 (Additional Child Tax Credit)
  • Education Expenses
  • Affordable Care Act (ACA) assistance
  • Itemized deductions (medical expenses, interest, taxes, check, cash, and non-cash (not subject to appraisal) charitable contributions, and most miscellaneous deductions.)
  • Pension distributions
  • Social Security income
  • Railroad Retirement benefits
  • State of California Forms 540A, 540 and California Renters Credit.
  • Form 1099-DIV, dividend income
  • Taxpayers and dependents with an ITIN and/or social security card. Taxpayer and spouse must provide picture ID.
  • Miscellaneous Income (1099 MISC box 7 income only)
  • Business income when the expenses are less than $ 35,000 (Sole-Proprietorships only)
  • Self Employment tax
  • Gain/Loss from sale of stock if basis is documented
  • California Lottery Winnings , jury duty pay, gambling winnings, hobby income, etc.
  • Income tax returns for prior years (2021, 2022, and 2023 only) are prepared if needed.

What is the purpose of VITA?

  • Provide quality tax information and income tax preparation service at no charge
  • Link CSUSB to the Inland Empire
  • Provide a business environment where students can obtain practical experience while enhancing their communication, analytical, and computer skills.
  • Provide an opportunity for University students to 'give back' to the community
  • Help students become independent, analytical, motivated, flexible, competent, disciplined, and confident.

How does VITA benefit the community?

Tax benefits offer both good and bad news for many Inland Empire taxpayers. Many tax benefits favor low and middle income taxpayers. There are refundable and non-refundable tax credits for parents, incentives to save for retirement, a new IRA, a reduced tax on capital gains and dividends, education credits and deductions, and special rules governing the sale of a principal residence. The bad news is that the complexity of these provisions is overwhelming for the average taxpayer. A large pool of educated, experienced tax preparers is needed. Annual changes in the tax law further complicate the tax preparation needs of all taxpayers, especially the low income. CSUSB can fill this need. The VITA Program offers students the opportunity to learn the tax law and fill a gap in the community.