Help is on the way for those who dread doing their own taxes. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program is offering free tax preparation services to low-income Valley taxpayers from Feb. 11 through April 10.

A joint project of the Craig School of Business at Fresno State and United Way Fresno and Madera Counties, the annual tax assistance program provides IRS-certified student volunteers to prepare and file taxes free of charge. The student volunteers, all business administration majors studying accountancy or finance, are trained by Accountancy Department faculty and must pass an IRS-certification test to qualify. All returns will be checked by two volunteers to minimize errors. Clients’ taxes will be electronically filed while the taxpayer is on site to ensure the return is accepted by the IRS.

“The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program is one of the ways Fresno State serves the wider community while providing opportunities for our students to gain valuable, real-world experience,” said Dr. Julie B. Olson-Buchanan, dean of the Craig School. “We’re grateful to the United Way for being our long-time community partner for this program, and for the many Valley residents who have used our students’ services.”

Tax assistance is available to all taxpayers with an adjusted gross income of less than $60,000. Tax help may be especially welcome this year because of new tax rules for federal economic stimulus payments. 

“Tax returns are a little more complicated this year,” said Tim Baker, an Accountancy Department lecturer and coordinator of the program. “The May 2021 economic stimulus payment and the increased child tax credit have to be reconciled on your tax return. Depending on your circumstances, you may be entitled to money you didn’t receive last year, or you may have to return money to the IRS. Our tax preparers have been trained in all of these matters to ask the right questions and assist in accurately putting that information on your tax return.”

Tax assistance will be available on Fridays from 2 to 8 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m Feb. 11 through April 10 in the Peters Business Building (Room 133).

Walk-ins are accepted, but clients are encouraged to avoid waiting in line and register in advance by calling the United Way hotline at 211 or 1.866.559.4211. Clients are asked to bring the following documents: 

  • Social Security cards for all taxpayers and dependents who are listed on the tax return.
  • Tax forms for all income received in 2021, including W-2 forms, 1099 forms, 1099-R forms, W-2G forms and any other forms showing income.
  • Letter 6475 from the IRS, which shows how much money was received from the $1,400 May 2021 stimulus payment.
  • Letter 6419 from the IRS, which shows how much advance payment of the child tax credit was received.