VITA program providing free tax assistance at ARC


ARC accounting professor Dieter Kiefer, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), along with qualified student tax preparers, will be on hand to provide free federal and state tax assistance. (Photo by Barbara Harvey)

Barbara Harvey and Barbara Harvey

With the consistently increasing cost of tuition, books and living expenses, college students need all the help they can get saving money wherever possible. With tax season upon us once again, American River College is offering free assistance in filing federal and state tax returns to anyone with an income less than $52,000.

As a part of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, or VITA, program, students (and their friends and family) will not only have the option to have their taxes prepared and filed, but qualified tax preparers will also be on hand to teach them how to file their own tax returns.

ARC faculty and students have been running the VITA program for 10 years with the assistance of the Internal Revenue Service and the Franchise Tax Board. Student tax preparers “have completed at least one tax course and have passed an IRS qualifying exam,” according to the ARC VITA website.

Even those who know how to file may want to attend the labs, as various tax deductions and credits students may not be aware of can make a big difference to the tax bills (or refunds) of notoriously tight-budgeted college students.

For example, college students who earn less than $80,000 annually (or $120,000, if married) can claim up to $2,000 in education-related costs, including tuition, books and supplies, under the Lifetime Learning Credit.

ARC accounting professor Dieter Kiefer, a Certified Public Account (CPA), is encouraging students and faculty to attend the labs, which will be held on Fridays from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Feb. 7, 8, 21, 22, 28 and Mar. 1, 7, 8, 14, 15 in the Liberal Arts building, rooms 122 and 123.