Cal Poly to Provide Free Tax Preparation for Central Coast Residents

VITA Tax Clinics

Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business is providing tax return preparation assistance at no charge for individuals and families with annual incomes less than $54,000.

The annual Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program helps Central Coast community members and students avoid tax fees and tax preparation costs before the April 15 filing deadline.

Nearly 100 Cal Poly accounting students will prepare tax returns as part this year’s VITA program, which is sanctioned and coordinated by the Internal Revenue Service and California Franchise Tax Board. The IRS-certified students will prepare returns; Orfalea College of Business faculty and volunteer certified public accountants will review and file them. Students will prepare basic forms, including 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ, 540, 540A, 540EZ and some supporting forms.

Cal Poly’s on-campus VITA clinics will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays from Jan. 30 through March 12. VITA tax preparers will be available on the third floor of the Cal Poly Business Building (No. 3). Visitors should enter Cal Poly on California Boulevard and follow the signs to the Orfalea College of Business. Parking is free and available in lots C2 and C7 near the Business Building. The clinic is wheelchair accessible. No appointments are needed; people will be served on a first-come basis. Community members should arrive at Cal Poly before 1 p.m. to allow sufficient time to complete returns accurately.

Those participating are asked to bring their Social Security card or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, 2014 tax returns, and all 2015 tax-related documents, including childcare expenses and health insurance coverage information.

Cal Poly students will also staff additional VITA clinics throughout the Central Coast in partnership with the United Way of San Luis Obispo and Northern Santa Barbara counties. Locations include:

  • America’s Job Center
    880 Industrial Way in San Luis Obispo
    10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays Jan. 30 through March 12
    No appointments needed; first come, first served
  • Courtland Street Apartments
    150 S. Courtland Street in Arroyo Grande
    10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays Jan. 30 through March 12
    ( coaching only)
    No appointments needed; first come, first served
  • Canyon Creek Apartments
    400 Oak Hill Road in Paso Robles
    10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays Jan. 30 through March 12
    ( coaching only)
    No appointments needed; first come, first served
  • Allan Hancock College Community Education Center
    800 S. College Dr., Building S in Santa Maria
    Open Saturdays Jan. 30 through April 2, closed Feb. 13
    By appointment only; call 805-922-0329 ext. 103

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. 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 faculty members Hilda Zacarias and Trisha Anderson. Lecturer and Cal Poly alumna Catherine “Michelle” Curry of local firm Radakovich, Shaw & Blythe LLP will also assist the clinic.

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.