February 13, 2017 – Cal State, San Bernardino has been hosting the Inland Empire’s Volunteer Income Tax program (VITA) for over 30 years. Through the VITA program, community members with a qualifying income can have their taxes prepared for free by undergraduate CSUSB student volunteers, who gain valuable experience and insight into the taxing and accounting fields.

Smith Marion & Co. CPA Kendra Dockham remembers participating in the VITA program during her undergraduate at CSUSB, and has been volunteering and supervising the program since she graduated in 2011. She monitors and assists the students who quickly find themselves over their heads, as she once was. She recalls preparing a total of two tax returns on her first day of volunteering—a strenuous, eight-hour task at the time.

Kendra believes that the VITA program is a “win-win for both students, and community members.” While at first the students struggle to learn and apply their skill sets to the diverse and often challenging world of tax preparation, they eventually begin to swim, gaining invaluable insight and experience in their future careers. Community members, of course, get their tax returns prepared correctly, and for free. It is such a valuable service, that Kendra has had community members recognize her as they come back year after year.

David Marion, CPA, and partner of Smith Marion & Co. says, “The VITA program does a great service to the community. Smith Marion & Co. is proud to be able to partner with VITA and help both the students and the community members as a whole.”

The VITA program takes place at various locations on Fridays and Saturdays through April 15th, and you can visit CSUSB’s website for more information. Thank you again to Kendra, for volunteering her time and efforts.