Accounting students offer free income tax preparation



The students and people in the surrounding community of Cosumnes River College have the chance to get their taxes done for free, by the Free Income Tax Preparation program on campus.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance class is taught by accounting professor, Margaret Parlio. Students in the accounting 160 class have the opportunity to learn how to work on people’s taxes.

“They learn how to do other people’s taxes, talk to taxpayers, and can take it up to three times,” Parlio said.

The class is two units and is offered every spring, the two advanced classes are Accounting 161 and Accounting 162.

“VITA is a free tax service for people who have an income of $54,000 or less,” Parlio said.

Parlio said that they help “any student, faculty, staff, friends, and anybody in the community.”

There is also no need to set up an appointment, Panag said.

“It’s first come, first serve, so the earlier the better,” Panag said.

Site coordinator for counting lab instructional assistant, Dalal Abboushi, said, “it’s a great program for students, the open community and low income people who qualify for this program.”

Students and professors involved with VITA are also required to take the IRS certification test in order to participate in the program.

Abboushi said “they changed the law over time, so in order to be up to date with the law, we have to take the exam every year to participate.”

“We have more people coming every year, and it’s a great opportunity for students to get experience in accounting, especially those who have that major,” Abboushi said.

The program has see a lot of success since its beginning on campus. Administrative Assistant for the Business and Family Science Department Jennifer Panag said that she hopes the campus will continue to offer it.

“I think this program is a very successful one, since we’ve started offering it on campus, and hopefully it’ll continue to be successful and we’ll be able to run it for many years to come,” Panag said.

Participants are expected to bring W-2 forms, picture I.D. for proof of identity, passport, income and tax documents, “and most importantly, social security card, not just the number,” Panag said.

Participants are also expected to bring health insurance information and house premium tax, also known as 1095’s.

The program is offered only once a year during tax season. This year, it is offered on Fridays, from now until April 8, one week before tax day, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The program will not be offered during spring break.

“The reaction has been great,” Panag said. “They think it’s great to have this program because it’s close, it’s convenient, and it’s free.”

As far as availability goes only one other Los Rios community college offers this type of program.

“American River College also has a similar program, but Sacramento City College does not, so it’s convenient for people who live in the South Sacramento or Elk Grove area because it’s closer, as opposed to driving all the way out to ARC to get their taxes done,” Panag said.

Most of the people that come and get their taxes done with VITA are pretty happy with the service and are appreciative, said Parilo.

“People are thankful and lots of  them are coming and getting their taxes done for free,” Parlio said.