VITA on campus offers free tax support

Damon Hickman, Staff Writer

Lower-income families and individuals are being offered the opportunity to receive free tax assistance, provided by the accounting department at Cosumnes River College.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, being led this semester by accounting professor Allison Hamaker, started providing free tax assistance on Feb. 21.

Along with CRC, other VITA locations in the Sacramento area this year include Hiram Johnson High School and the Stanford Settlement neighborhood center, Hamaker said.

On the first day, 77 families showed up to room BS 140A to receive assistance preparing and filing their taxes. Hamaker projects the service will help around 500 families this tax season, with last year’s total being 400, she said.

It is available to anyone with an annual gross income of $55,000 or less and those who need to file a basic type of return.

“We had students, parents of students, people from Sacramento and Elk Grove and Stockton come, some as early as 7:30 a.m. for the doors that opened at 9:30 [a.m.],” Hamaker said via e-mail.

To get your taxes done for free, simply bring the required materials such as a photo identification, Social Security card and tax information, and the VITA team will handle the rest.

Many of the 30 volunteers  in attendance were students, and CRC happens to offer Accounting 160, which is a course designed to train those interested in providing tax services.

“The questions ranged from ‘who can be my dependent?’ to ‘can I claim head of household filing status?’ ” Hamaker said.

Head to room BS 140A, where the VITA program will be held every Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. until April 11.