Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program

VITA is a nationwide organization regulated by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that offers free tax help to people who make less than $53,000 per year. Since 2008, students, faculty, and alumni of the Fox School’s Department of Accounting have assisted low-income members of the Philadelphia community by filing their income-tax returns for free through Temple University’s VITA program, based on Temple’s Ambler Campus. In 2017, more than 60 preparers claimed nearly half a million dollars in refunds on behalf of their more than 400 clients.

Accounting firms, CPA review firms, and the Department of Accounting Circle Executive Committee sponsor VITA each year.

Students that volunteer with the VITA program find the experience extremely fulfilling. While you help thousands of local low-income families ensure they receive the full returns to which they are entitled, you also learn practical skills and gain real-world insight into the U.S. tax system.

Your return will be prepared by IRS certified Temple students assisted by Temple faculty and alumni. If your return is outside of our scope as set by the IRS we are legally unable to do your tax return. These rules are set by the IRS to ensure the quality and accuracy of the returns we do prepare.

Some of the more common limitations are:

1. Your annual income is less than $56,000 (if married, this refers to joint income)
2. You do not own and operate your own business
3. You do not own any rental property

Note this is not a complete list, for a complete list of limitations please see IRS Publication 4012 (Pages 5-15).

Now scheduling appointments for 2020 – Saturdays, February 8 – April 11. There are three methods that you are able to use to schedule an appointment:

  • By telephone: 215-326-9519
  • By online form
  • By email: vita@temple.edu

Once you have your appointment, please bring with you all required documentation for our volunteers to process your return.

To assist others with their tax returns as a part of the VITA program you must first pass the online Link-n-Learn test offered by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and attend three training sessions in January at the Ambler campus.

Students interested in volunteering without receiving course credit should contact Dr. Balsam directly at drb@temple.edu.

It is highly recommended volunteer students request to receive course credit for completion of the VITA volunteer work through registration of ACCT 3581 – Co-operative Experience in Accounting, section 101 during the Spring semester.

Provided that total credits do not exceed 18 credits for the semester, the course will require no additional cost to a full-time student’s tuition, and the 3 credits earned upon completion of the course will count toward the academic requirements of sitting for the CPA exam and becoming licensed.

In addition to meeting the general volunteer requirements, participants are required to offer their expertise every Saturday from mid-January through the end of tax season in April.

Students interested in course credit must complete the following requirements to register for the course:

  • Meet the prerequisite of a grade of C or better in ACCT 3511 – Intermediate Accounting I
  • Email your TUID number, resume, and request for course credit to Dr. Balsam
  • Receive written approval in the form of email or signature from Dr. Balsam
  • Once approval is granted, students must visit the Fox School of Business Advising Office located in Speakman Hall 101 with the written approval to be registered for the course. Only an administrator can process the registration for this course.

For more information about volunteering and getting assistance contact Steven Balsam, PhD, director of the VITA program, at drb@temple.edu.