Cal Poly’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance to Provide Free Tax Preparation for Underserved Communities

For the 27th consecutive year, Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business will provide free tax return preparation assistance through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.

Clinics will be held in San Luis Obispo, Oceano and Santa Maria in February and March.

Cal Poly’s on-campus VITA clinics will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays from Feb. 2 through March 16. Sessions at the other locations will be by appointment.

More than 125 Cal Poly accounting students will prepare tax returns as part of this year’s VITA program, which is sanctioned and coordinated by the Internal Revenue Service and California Franchise Tax Board. These IRS-certified students will prepare returns that will be to reviewed and filed by Orfalea College of Business faculty and volunteer certified public accountants. Students will prepare basic forms for local individuals and families earning less than $54,000. These include 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ, 540, 540A, 540EZ and some supporting forms.

The Cal Poly clinic will be held on the third floor of the Business Building (No. 3) on the campus core’s western edge. Visitors should enter the campus on California Boulevard and follow the signs to the Orfalea College of Business.

Parking is free and available in lots C4 and C7 near the Business Building. The clinic is wheelchair accessible. No appointments are needed and the clinic will operate on a first come, first served basis. Community members should arrive at Cal Poly before 1 p.m. to allow sufficient time to complete returns accurately.

Participants need to bring an ID, Social Security card and/or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, 2017 tax returns and all 2018 tax-related documents, including child-care expenses and health insurance coverage information.

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

Students will also staff VITA clinics at two other Central Coast locations in partnership with the United Way of Northern Santa Barbara County. These include:

  • Allan Hancock College Community Education Center (Building S)
    800 S. College Drive, Santa Maria
    Open Saturdays, Feb. 2 through March 30 (closed Feb. 16 and March 23)
    By appointment only; call 805-922-0329, ext. 103
  • Lucia Mar Adult Education School
    1551 17th St., Oceano
    10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays, Feb. 9 through March 16
    By appointment only; call 805-541-1234

Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business has hosted VITA clinics 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 accounting students to prepare returns, interact with clients and help underserved communities.

The VITA program has also allowed students the opportunity to work with faculty members and tax professionals. This year’s program is led by Cal Poly faculty members Trisha Daughtrey and Michelle Curry 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.