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Valley Focus | Valleywide

Volunteers Help Prepare Income Taxes

January 31, 1998|EDWARD M. YOON

Beginning today, people earning $40,000 or less a year, minorities or those with disabilities can receive free help in preparing their federal and state income tax forms from Cal State Northridge students through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.

More than 300 CSUN student volunteers will help people at 18 VITA centers in the Valley and Los Angeles.

The students, who went through an intensive training program, will work alongside VITA supervisors who have been updated on new tax laws, said Catherine T. Jeppson, faculty advisor for the program and CSUN accounting professor.

IRS agents, who will also serve as advisors at selected centers, will review tax forms before they are filed, she said.

"It allows students to learn basic tax preparation while dealing with the public and allows those in the community who are in need of help to file their taxes free of charge," Jeppson said.

Tax forms will be electronically filed in all VITA centers, she added.

Operating hours range from 9 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays, depending on the site. Customers will be served on a first-come, first-served basis.

Valley locations include Northridge, North Hollywood, Panorama City, Van Nuys, Pacoima and Burbank.

Jeppson said bilingual volunteers will be stationed at some locations.

"Our students speak 30 different languages and dialects, such as Korean, Russian and Spanish," she said.

The service ends April 15 and will not be open during spring break, April 4 to 13. For information on locations and hours, call (818) 677-4519.

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