Cal Poly to Again Provide Free Tax Preparation for Underserved Communities

VITA program accounting students have prepared basic forms for community members on campus annually since 1992; additional Saturday clinics will be held in Oceano and Santa Maria

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business is once again providing free tax return preparation assistance through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. Cal Poly’s on-campus VITA clinics will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays from Jan. 29 through March 12.

This year, all community members are required to schedule an appointment at

More than 50 Cal Poly accounting students will prepare tax returns as part of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance grant program, which is sanctioned by and coordinated with the Internal Revenue Service and California Franchise Tax Board. These IRS-certified students will prepare returns while Orfalea College of Business faculty and volunteer certified public accountants review and file the returns. Student VITA volunteers will prepare basic forms for local individuals and families earning less than $58,000. These include 1040, 1040A, 10 40EZ, 540, 540A, 540EZ and some supporting forms.

The Cal Poly clinic will be held on the third floor of the Business Building (No. 3). The clinic is wheelchair accessible. Visitors should enter the western edge of campus on California Boulevard and follow the signs. Parking is free and available in lots C4 and C7 near the Business Building. See for parking lot locations.

Participants need to bring their ID, Social Security card and/or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number; 2020 tax returns; and all 2021 tax-related documents, including: child-care expenses, Letter 6419 for monthly advance Child Tax Credit payments, Letter 6475 (if you received a third round of stimulus checks in 2021), and health insurance coverage information.

Due to new COVID protocols, participants must wear a mask and bring proof of vaccination or proof of a negative COVID test within 72 hours of visit. In addition, only one representative from each family will be permitted to enter the building.

Clients have the option of filling out necessary forms available on the VITA program website (, dropping them off at the clinic, and returning the following weekend to review the tax return and sign necessary documents.

The students, in partnership with the United Way of Northern Santa Barbara County, will also host additional VITA clinics at two other Central Coast locations:

Allan Hancock College Community Education Center (Building S-103)
800 S. College Drive, Santa Maria
Seven Saturday sessions, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Feb. 12 through April 9 (closed Feb. 19, March 26 and April 2)
By appointment only; visit

Oceano Elementary School
1551 17th St., Oceano
Five Saturday sessions, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Feb. 12 through March 12
By appointment only; visit

Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business has hosted VITA clinics on campus since 1992. In the last decade, students have helped prepare more than 7,000 tax returns for community members. The clinics serve as a valuable, hands-on senior project, allowing students to prepare returns, interact with clients and help underserved communities.

Students also have the chance to work with faculty members and tax professionals. This year’s VITA program is led by Cal Poly faculty members Trisha Daughtrey and Christine Lebar of San Luis Obispo.

For more information, call 805-756-2667 (English and Spanish) or visit For more details on the United Way clinics, call 805-922-0329, ext. 103.

About the Orfalea College of Business and Cal Poly
Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business prepares career-ready, global business leaders through the university’s Learn by Doing philosophy. The undergraduate program offers a polytechnic education in a broad range of disciplines in business administration, economics, and industrial technology and packaging. The college also offers master’s degrees in business administration, business analytics, taxation, economics, and packaging value chain. It is one of six academic colleges at Cal Poly, a nationally ranked, four-year comprehensive public university located in San Luis Obispo, Calif. For more information, go to

Jan. 20, 2022
Trisha Daughtrey

Christine Lebar


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