For the past 18 years, Baruch students and alumni have assisted taxpayers in preparing their income tax forms through the Baruch Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program ("Baruch VITA"). VITA is a student run not-for-profit organization sponsored by the IRS SPEC Office and Baruch College. VITA offers free income tax preparation service to low- and moderate-income families at six locations throughout various parts of Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens, with the main branch located at the Newman Library of Baruch College.
According to Baruch’s VITA web site: “The VITA Program at Baruch … is the largest volunteer opportunity available to Baruch students” In addition, “Baruch College runs one of the biggest VITA programs in the nation … While the national average is about 7 volunteers per site, we have surpassed this average by at least 20 times every year since 1998.” Baruch’s program is unique because it is the only university-based program that operates external sites in Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan, in addition to our home site at Baruch College. Our campus location serves taxpayers from the neighborhood, Baruch students, faculty and staff (including a large body of international students who are subject to special tax treatment). Baruch, being ranked as the most diverse college in the U.S., has a special advantage in serving immigrants who have little or no understanding of English language.
This year, over 340 VITA volunteers prepared over 6,000 returns and helped clients claim over $5.6 million in refunds. According to Baruch VITA organizers, “The goal of our program is to provide free and reliable income tax return preparation service to the communities where we have established a tax clinic and help our clients claim the maximum refund that they are entitled to. The refunds generally come from credits and deduction offered by the federal, state, and local government for low- and moderate-income households including the Earned Income Credit, Child Tax Credit & Additional Child Tax Credit, New York City School Tax Credit, and more.”
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