Through Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing philosophy, the Orfalea College of Business strives to incorporate opportunities for experiential learning in education. Here are some of the Learn by Doing opportunities within the Accounting and Law Area.
Low Income Tax Payer Clinic
The LITC provides undergraduate and graduate business students the opportunity to work with underserved communities while enhancing their professional accounting and taxation skills. LITC student advocates, under the direct supervision of Orfalea College of Business faculty, represent low-income taxpayers involved in controversies with the IRS and California’s Franchise Tax Board. Students also educate community members on the rights and responsibilities of taxpayers through year-round outreach events. Students provide personal consultations, legal and tax assistance, and educational materials in English and Spanish, all at no charge.
Since it began, the LITC has assisted approximately 2,880 California clients through consultation, education or direct assistance before the Internal Revenue Service, California’s Franchise Tax Board, and U.S. Tax Court. More than 160 students have participated in the program as their senior project, gaining practical experience working with a variety of tax cases and controversies. In many cases, the LITC advocates significantly reduced or eliminated a client’s tax liability by clarifying applicable legal and tax provisions, establishing substantial economic financial hardship, providing substantiation of client expenses or deductions, filing the proper tax forms, or negotiating settlements.
For more information, visit the LITC website: www.cob.calpoly.edu/litcweb/
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program helps provide Central Coast community members and students with tax return preparation assistance at no charge for individuals and families with annual incomes less than $54,000. All tax returns are prepared by Cal Poly accounting students who have gone through extensive training and have passed the Internal Revenue Service and California Franchise Tax Board volunteer exams. The returns are then reviewed by local certified tax professionals.
Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business has been hosting VITA clinics on campus since 1992. Since then, students have prepared more than 15,000 tax returns for community members. Nearly 100 Cal Poly accounting students will prepare tax returns as part of this year’s VITA program. The clinics serve as a valuable, hands-on senior project, allowing students to prepare returns, interact with clients, and help underserved communities.
For more information, visit the VITA website: http://www.cob.calpoly.edu/vita/