College Students Providing Free Tax Preparation

Posted at 11:24 AM, Feb 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-26 14:24:24-05

April 18th, tax deadline, is fast approaching.  Many in the South Bay have already had their taxes prepared, for free, thanks to a group of Southwestern College students.

It’s part of a service by South Bay Community Services.  The non-profit group trains the students 16 hours in person.  And then the students have to pass an additional 16 hour training online given by the International Revenue Service.

Resident Valerie Gonzalez isn't waiting until the last minute.  She’s hoping for a refund.

"This is actually my first time doing them,” said Gonzalez.  "I need the money."

And Gonzalez isn’t the only one.  So far this year, students have helped process around 300 tax returns.  They're anticipating just over a 1,000.  They're volunteers, but it's practically a job.

"I'm planning on transferring.  With this, it helps so much with your college application, job application,” said student Mariana Rivera.  "You learn new material that not even school will teach you.  It's like a real world situation."

The students are supervised by Monica Samayoa of the South Bay Community Services:

"We do anything from a simple W2, to the long form, to the 1040A, Schedule C, EZs, also mortgage interest and so forth,” said Samayoa.

It's intense, but more students are signing up.  From 20 last tax season, to 30 this year.

"There was one week where I had to do four hours of training each day, which was kind of brutal,” said student Manny Lord. 

It’s intense for the students, but easy for clients.  All they have to do is bring in all the necessary documents and some patience.

"I came a couple of days ago, but it was completely packed.  So i tried again today,” said Gonzalez, who left the South Bay Career Center a happy customer.

“I got what I wanted,” said Gonzalez.

The free tax preparation is available for anyone making $54,000 or less.      

For a complete schedule, visit