Student-run Tax Clinic Returns to Offer Free Filing Services on Campus

student holds up paperwork needed to help taxpayers
Business student Francky Mirafuentes holds up intake paperwork, which the IRS-certified volunteers fill out with taxpayers.
Students and individuals from under-served communities will have access to free tax services as part of the University’s student-run tax clinic, which returns this February.

The clinic will be open every Wednesday from February 14 to April 10 at 5:30 p.m. in Siemens Hall 119. Appointments must be booked in advance.

The clinic is part of the IRS’ Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. The national program is designed to support "low-to-moderate-income individuals, persons with disabilities, the elderly, and limited English speakers file their taxes each year,” according to the IRS.

Tax preparation and filing services are available in English, and efforts will be undertaken to assist individuals speaking different languages, such as Spanish. Individuals can select their preferred language or request other accommodations when booking an appointment online. 

While taxpayers get access to free, certified services—Cal Poly Humboldt Business students gain hands-on, career-related experience. All student volunteers involved in the program are IRS-certified, and must pass a series of tests to become qualified to prepare tax returns for others.

“Cal Poly Humboldt Business students are eager to gain real world experience and serve the public,” says Josh Zender, Business professor and VITA site coordinator. “Meanwhile, the public is so grateful to have assistance with their tax return. We rarely see someone leave our clinic without a smile on their face.”

This free service is available by appointment only to those who earn $70,000 or less per year, and have an income tax return with limited complexity, such as no crypto currency trading activity or significant passive income sources from investments.

Those who are eligible just need to bring their tax documents, and the student volunteers do the rest. Interested individuals can visit the program’s website to book an appointment, review eligibility requirements, complete required documents, and more.  

VITA programs have been available nationwide for more than 50 years, and on-campus for more than a decade. Additional free VITA clinics are available at different sites throughout the county, including at the Humboldt Senior Resource Center in Eureka and the Rohner Recreation Hall in Fortuna.

For more information about the University’s VITA clinic, visit