Bulldog Bites

News and Views from the University of Redlands

Students at the University of Redlands volunteer to provide free tax services in VITA program

For almost three decades, the University of Redlands Accounting Department has partnered with the Internal Revenue Service to offer free tax assistance through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. Now through April 6, clients can receive help either in-person or remotely.  

VITA is a nationwide, volunteer-operated service that provides free tax return preparations to underserved members of the community who earn moderate to low income, have disabilities, need English translations, or are elderly.  

Cristian Soria ‘24, an accounting major, said he often “works with clients who have time, financial, or language limitations that deter them from seeking professional help. VITA gives them a shoulder to lean on as University volunteers guide them through what can be an intimidating tax system.” 

Student volunteers at VITA session in Duke hall. (Photo courtesy of Milka Soko)U of R students who want to participate are required to enroll in a VITA course at the University, which has material set by the IRS, and pass certain certifications in order to aid in tax preparation. This course, taught by Professor Greg Lackey, focuses on preparing official government tax forms using IRS training material and to gain familiarity with tax laws. Students not only gain beneficial career skills, but also are able to give back to the community by helping those in need.  

Miguel Ramos-Casamalhuapa,‘24, said “the experience so far has been helpful in replicating what interacting with clients may look like.” Vanessa Anulo, ‘24, also believes VITA has helped prepare her for a future career “by giving hand-on experience and is great on [her] resume.”  

Students said they appreciate the educational benefits, career skills, and the opportunity to help those tackle tax season, an often-overwhelming process for many.  

For in-person assistance, clients may come to Duke Hall every Monday between 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. to fill out required forms or drop off their documents. Signs in Duke Hall will direct clients to the waiting area located at Duke 201.  

Alternatively, clients can submit their tax documents by using this link. 

To learn more about VITA services offered at the University of Redlands, please visit this link. 

To learn more about degrees in accounting or other subjects at the University of Redlands, please visit this link.