April 11, 2021
  • 9:35 am Spring Commencement Ceremonies Get Brighter
  • 3:46 pm Breaking News: Spring Commencement Ceremonies Recieve Stadium Upgrade
  • 8:00 am Testing the Teachers (and All the Educators)
  • 9:30 am CSUDH Educators and School Employees, Vaccinated Next
  • 10:30 am For White People Only: Anti-Racism Workshop Addresses Racial Bias and Unity
  • 2:43 pm Greatness Personified: Remembering Kobe Bryant
  • 10:02 am Straight Down the Chimney and Into Your (Digital) Hands: Special Holiday Edition of The Bulletin!
  • 2:44 pm Did You Wake up Looking this Beautiful?
  • 11:43 am A Long History for University’s Newest Major
  • 5:15 pm Issue 5 of Bulletin Live! Collector’s Item! Worth its Weight in Digital Paper!
  • 4:06 pm Special Election Issue
  • 4:03 pm Three best Latinx Halloween & Horror Short Films available now on HBO Max
  • 9:49 am Issue 3 of CSUDH Bulletin Live if You Want It
  • 3:24 pm Hispanic Heritage Month Update
  • 2:00 pm South Bay Economic Forecast Goes Virtual
  • 3:52 pm BREAKING NEWS: Classes for Spring to be Online, CSU Chancellor Announces
  • 9:39 am “Strikes” and Solidarity
  • 8:30 am March Into History: Just 5 in 1970, CSUDH Growth Shaped by Historic Event
  • 8:30 am Will the Bulletin Make Today Tomorrow?
  • 9:04 am Different Neighborhoods Warrant Rubber Bullets or Traffic Control For Protesters
  • 5:07 pm STAFF EDITORIAL: Even Socially Distant, We All Have to Work Together
  • 5:47 pm Transcript of CSUDH President Parham’s Coronavirus Announcement
  • 10:46 am Cal State Long Beach Suspends Face-to-Face Classes; CSUDH Discussing Contingency Plans
  • 5:26 pm Things Black People Should be Able to Get Away with This Month
  • 10:25 am Latinx Students Need a Place to Call Home
  • 2:35 pm Will Time Run Out Before Funds for PEGS? [UPDATED]
  • 8:41 am Year of the Rat? What’s That?
  • 6:20 am Artist Who Gave Life to Death and Inspired Countless Others Gets His Due at Dominguez Hills
  • 5:16 pm Why I’m Rooting for Dr. Cornel West
  • 5:00 pm Under Fire from the Feds, Vaping’s Future is Cloudy
  • 3:28 pm We’re Going to Need a Bigger Boat; Tsunami 3.0 Hits Campus, Enrollment Swells
  • 1:22 pm THE FIRST ISSUE OF THE BULLETIN IS HERE
  • 4:48 pm University Weathering a Wave of New Students
  • 9:21 pm The Bulletin’s Public Records Request Offers Springboard to Launch Gender Equity Discussion at CSUDH
  • 4:27 pm Black is the New Black: Raising the Capital on the “B” Word
  • 10:53 am Guns Up for Arrest: Student advocacy group pushes for CSU No Gun Zones–Including the Police
  • 4:09 pm Staff Editorial: Words on the First
  • 8:42 pm Carson Mayor Blasts Media, Landmark Libel Case in Keynote Address
  • 9:27 am Free Speech Week Calendar of Events Update
  • 6:02 am Food for Thought: 40% of Students are Food Insecure
  • 3:12 pm Academic Senate Rejects CSU GE Task Force & Report
  • 3:06 pm Work To Be Done
  • 5:56 pm ASI Elections: What You Need to Know
  • 8:02 pm CSUDH President Parham Announces Cancer Diagnosis
  • 9:47 am CSUDH Art Professor’s 20-Year Journey Results in First Local Showing of Film
  • 9:13 pm Free Speech or Free Hate area?
  • 9:08 pm CSUDH’s Best & Brightest Shine at Student Research Day
  • 9:05 pm Academic Senate Approves Gender Equity Task Force
  • 12:37 pm When Dr. Davis speaks, Toros Pay Close Attention
  • 3:38 pm Investing in the Future: Dr. Thomas A. Parham Reflects on the Past Eight Months and Contemplates​ the University’s Future
  • 3:24 pm Green Olive to Open By End of Feb; Starbucks Not Until Fall
  • 3:20 pm Gov. Newsom’s Proposed Budget Hailed for Extensive Funding Increases
  • 3:08 pm Out of the Classroom: Labor and Community Organizing Course Aims to Teach Students How to Organize for Social Justice
  • 2:54 pm The Other Route in Professional Sports
  • 9:02 am Hail to the New Chief, CSUDH President Thomas Parham
  • 3:36 pm Career Center Holds Major/Minor Fair
  • 5:34 pm After Unexpected Delay, Undocumented Becomes More Intimate Theatrical Production
  • 1:30 pm What to Expect When You’re Expecting New Buildings
  • 8:22 pm Putting the Color Back In Comics, Part One: A Pictorial Evolution of Comics Diversity
  • 7:09 pm It Takes A Community to Engage With the Earth: Earth Day and Weeklong Community Engagement Symposium Set for Next Week
  • 5:31 pm Exploring the (De) Construction of Blackness: Linguistic And Cultural Sharing
  • 12:16 pm HALL OF KICKS 5 – The Historic Chuck Taylor’s

CSUDH’s free tax preparation service can help those filing taxes save money as well as burnish the resumes of student volunteers. Photo courtesy of VITA.

By Iracema Navarro, Senior Editor

For the past year, we’ve all been dealing with the uncertainty of the coronavirus; but now it’s time to deal with one of life’s two certainties: taxes.

The deadline to file a federal 2020 tax return was extended to May 17. But regardless of the date, during the summer, the CSUDH community has an ally when it comes to the tax fight: the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, which has offered free income tax preparation help for more than 40 years. 

The VITA program offers eligible CSUDH students, their families, and faculty free tax preparation and free e-filing of their federal and state income taxes. The maximum income to qualify for VITA is $57,000.

VITA is led by faculty adviser and accounting lecturer Arek Arakelian, also joined by IRS-certified student volunteers. Arakelian is in his fourth year as adviser, but VITA has been around for far longer. How long, no one’s quite sure, but “at least since 1980,” Arakelian said. 

Arakelian averages about 150 hours per tax season committing to the program, its volunteers, and helping the community. In his first two years, Arakelian said the number of people serviced by VITA doubled from 150 to 300. Last year due to the pandemic arriving in March, the numbers dipped back down to 150. 

VITA lead coordinator and CSUDH accounting major Jasmin Martinez has volunteered with the program for four years. Martinez said she values the hands-on experience and the different scenarios of families she has met. But what she enjoys most is seeing the impact VITA has on low-income families.

“CPA [certified public accountant] firms and companies charge about $500 or $600 to file,” Martinez said. “Low-income communities can definitely benefit when they use VITA as a resource.” 

Depending on how complicated and how many forms are needed to file the federal and state taxes, the fees can increase.

According to the National Society of Accountants, the national average fee for tax preparation is $457 for an itemized 1040 form with a Schedule C business income and state return. Tax preparation for simple federal and state tax returns is an average fee of $176.

All VITA appointments this tax season will be via Zoom and even though that video conferencing program is something most of us have dealt with far more than we could have ever expected, there are some difficulties in managing it, Arakelian said.

“Now everybody is working virtually, it’s 100% virtual and that’s what made it difficult,” he said. “In the old days, we used to be in a large computer lab and it was very easy for any volunteer to pop up and ask a question to their colleagues and get the answer. People learn from each other so that element of group work doesn’t exist anymore. It’s going to be difficult this year, but we’re going to do our best.”

Clients will now have to utilize their own computer skills and equipment to scan, download, upload, sign, and re-upload documents.

The documents needed to file federal and state income taxes are proof of identification, income forms, and tax credit documents. A new tax credit will be eligible for those who did not receive their second economic impact payment.

The VITA program volunteers are mostly accounting majors who have taken 40 to 60 hours of training to learn the tax rules. 

Ricardo Ulivi, a retired CSUDH professor with more than 40 years of finance says that like it or not, you better get used to doing your taxes.

“Just always think taxes, taxes, taxes because it’s something that even after you’re dead, you’re going to have to pay taxes,” Ulivi said. “Because after you die, somebody is going to have to file your last income tax and somebody has to file your state tax.”

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