Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program


The VITA Program

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance is a nationwide program founded in 1971 by Gary Iskowitz at CSU Northridge. Through VITA, our volunteers provide free tax filing services to low- to moderate-income earning individuals and families. Any person who has passed one of the IRS-sponsored VITA Certification Tests may volunteer.

Berkeley VITA is a student-led UC Berkeley Public Service Center program that partners with community centers and credit unions in the East Bay. The DeCal is held in the Fall followed by volunteering in Spring.

No previous experience or knowledge of taxes is required! Berkeley VITA is a year-long commitment! 

Berkeley VITA is sponsored by our longterm partner, Cooperative Center Federal Credit Union.


About VITA


Originally I thought VITA is just doing tax returns for people, but I learned that doing tax returns right can actually make an influence on people's lives. -Cal Student in VITA

Student Benefits

Students may be eligible for an additional $2,500 in education credits. Learn more about the American Opportunity Credit and other education credits at the IRS website.

Student Director Office Hours

To meet with individual director, please email ucberkeleyvita@gmail.com to make an appointment.

  • Dalia L. Nava Community Partnership Student Director 
  • Yiping Kao, DeCal and Training Student Director
  • Katherine Necochea-Tinco, DeCal and Training Student Director

Student Volunteers

Berkeley VITA is a year-long commitment!

VITA 16-17 Application is now closed.  Please check back September 2017 for next year's cycle.


Fall 2016

Students attend a weekly 2-unit DeCal designed to prepare students to take and successfully pass the IRS-sponsored VITA volunteer Basic Certification Test. The DeCal incorporates readings and discussions about poverty, income inequality, and the public policies surrounding these issues. Training materials, including official IRS publications and software tutorials, will be provided to students for free. 

When: Wednesdays 6pm-8pm
Where: 101 Moffit Library
Starting: September 7, 2016

Spring 2017

Students begin volunteer work at one of the local partnering VITA organizations in Berkeley and Oakland, and continue until the end of the tax season (April 15th). Students can receive 2 units for their volunteer work.


Email program managers Dalia, Yiping, and Katherine at ucberkeleyvita@gmail.com.

Learn more about VITA @ Earn It! Keep It! Save It! (EKS) -  http://earnitkeepitsaveit.org/.


DeCal 2016

Established in 2010, Berkeley VITA aims to alleviate local poverty in the Alameda County through providing free tax services to low-income working families, with the focus of maximizing families’ disposable income. As a year-long program that includes a DeCal course in the fall, Berkeley VITA thrives on the concept of peer-to-peer learning and subsequently, the energy and efforts of its student volunteers.


In the spring of 2013, Berkeley VITA contributed 864 total hours in the tax season to file tax returns and serve our community. Working among eight VITA tax sites in the Alameda County, the program’s 48 student volunteers helped give back approximately $550,000 in tax refunds and credits to low-income families in the 2013 Tax Year alone. In our mission to extend the program’s impact on the local community, Berkeley VITA aims to continue to expand and foster tax education, community partnerships, and students’ personal growth on a grander scale each year. 


Judy Li


Judy Li

Class of 2017 Business Administration

How do you participate in the Public Service Center?

I was a Bonner leader during my freshmen year.  Before I became the Community Partnership Director for the  Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), I was served as a volunteer participant and a site leader. VITA provides free tax filing services for low-income individuals and families throughout the Bay Area. I have been in VITA since 2013, and am glad to be part of such a great organization. As a Bonner Leader for two years, I participated in Public Service Center home group meetings and shared my experiences with other community project leaders.  Aside from VITA, I am also part of the Haas Leaders Program and am working on promoting financial literacy through the Financial Literacy and Economic Justice Conference (Flejcon). 


What inspired you to get involved with the Public Service Center?

Being part of community service was always an integral part of my life. In high school, I was involved in Cal-Rotaract and volunteered for over 500 hours.  What triggered my involvement in the Public Service Center was my passion for encouraging others to be engaged in community service.  A particular memory that inspired me to take on a leadership role occured while filing a tax return for a VITA client.  Maria was a single mother of 5 and I was able to help her acquire a tax refund of $2,000.  Seeing the emotional impact of what $2,000 meant to Maria made my contribution feel fulfilling and awe-inspiring.


What have you learned from your Public Service Center experience?

Through the Public Service Center, I learned the power of teamwork and impact.  The Public Service Center taught me that there are more issues to worry about than work and school. Before I joined, I was solely academically-focused. Working in the Public Service Center and seeing so many different organizations helped me realized the importance of community learning.


What is your favorite thing about the Public Service Center?

My favorite thing about the Public Service Center is the people and the community.  Through VITA, I met my best friend, Nona Penner, who was my co-director for VITA.  Additionally, I also established a close relationship with my three program managers: Tika, Rajelin, and Fela. To me, the Public Service Center is more than just a community.  Aside from my professional development, the Public Service Center helped me grow on a personal level. Overall, I’m thankful for all the opportunities, the people, and the community that Public Service Center has provided me.

Our Community Partners

BerkeleyVITA does NOT provide tax preparation services.  If you are a student or community member looking for support to prepare your taxes, please contact the community partners below.  Berkeley VITA partners with community centers and credit unions in the nearby Berkeley and Oakland area by providing trained and IRS-certified volunteers to partners during tax-filing season. We are always looking to strengthen our current partnerships and form new ones. If you are a site looking to connect with us, please email ucberkeleyvita@gmail.com.

ASUC Student Legal Clinic

UC Berkeley Eshleman Hall 

3rd Floor 312F Cubicle 33 

Office Hours 10am-5pm

Cooperative Center Federal Credit Union

2001 Ashby Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94703
(510) 295-1657

Asian Resource Center (ARC)

310 8th St. Ste. 200
Oakland, CA 94607
(510) 287-5353

EBALDC – Sparkpoint

885 69th Ave.
Oakland, CA 94621
(510) 969-8643

Community Trust - A division of Self Help FCU

1350 7th Street
Oakland, CA 94607
(510) 267-0450 x 305

The Unity Council

1900 Fruitvale Ave Suite 2A
Oakland, CA 94601
(510) 535-6900

Lao Family Community Development Oakland

2228 East 15th Street
 Oakland, CA 94606

Anew America

1918 University Ave. Suit 3A
Berkeley, CA 94704
(510) 540-7785

Mission Economic Development Agency

2301 Mission Street, Suite 301

San Francisco, CA 94110

(415) 282-3334




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