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!


Tax Preparation Services


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

Campus and Community

If you are a campus or community member and are looking for support to prepare your taxes, please take a look at our community partners. UC Berkeley's Student Legal Clinic has set up a site on campus and is available for appointments Monday-Friday. Find more information at the Student Legal Clinic.


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.

Application Information

VITA applications for 2015-2016 is now closed. Please contact ucberkeleyvita@gmail.com if you have any questions.

Student Director Office Hours

Office Hours for Fall 2015 are Fridays 4pm-5pm. To meet with individual director, please email ucberkeleyvita@gmail.com to make an appointment.

  • Joanna Guo DeCal and Training Student Director 
  • Alexander Mabanta, DeCal and Training Student Director
  • Judy Li, Community Partnership Student Director

Student Volunteers

Berkeley VITA is a year-long commitment!

VITA applications for 2015-2016 is now closed. Please contact ucberkeleyvita@gmail.com if you have any questions.


Fall 2015

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: Thursdays 6pm-8pm
Where: 102 Moffit Library
Starting: September 10, 2015


Spring 2016

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.

Application Process

VITA applications for 2015-2016 is now closed.  Please contact ucberkeleyvita@gmail.com if you have any questions. 



Email program managers Alex Mabanta, Joanna Guo, Judy Li at ucberkeleyvita@gmail.com.

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


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. 


Lily Cheng


Nona Penner 

Class of 2016 Business Administration

How do you participate in the Public Service Center?

I was one of two program managers for the Berkeley Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program and I also serve as a Bonner Leader. 2014-15 marked my third year with Berkeley VITA and my second year leading the tax training DeCal. VITA provides free tax return preparation for low-income individuals and families at eight sites around the East Bay. Through the Bonner Program, I participate in Public Service Center group meetings to share experiences with other students involved with the Center.


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

My first involvement with the Public Service Center was as a student volunteer for the Berkeley VITA Program in spring semester of my freshman year. At the time I was also taking Robert Reich’s Wealth and Poverty class, which really deepened my understanding of service. When the opportunity to become VITA’s Co-Program Manager arose, I was ecstatic to take my involvement with the program to the next level. I have been with Berkeley VITA and the wonderful Public Service Center community ever since.


What have you learned from your Public Service Center experience?

I think the biggest takeaway from my experience is the importance of community learning. There are many organizations within the Public Service Center that focus on a particular areas of interest and many external partner sites that serve a specific audience. What I have learned is that one group should not be expected to work independently but should be willing to exchange ideas with others to make an impactful change. This practice is something that I think the Public Service Center emphasizes and that its student leaders take to heart.


What is your favorite thing about the Public Service Center?

To me, the Public Service Center’s supportive atmosphere is what enables the programs and people within it to be so successful. That’s my favorite thing about it. The Public Service Center’s culture is very professional but also very caring—as a result, people are more inspired, more productive, and more connected to each other.

Our Community Partners

Berkeley VITA partners with community centers and credit unions in the nearby Berkeley and Oakland area. 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.

Asian Resource Center (ARC)

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

Cooperative Center Federal Credit Union

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

Catholic Charities of the East Bay

433 Jefferson Street
Oakland, CA 94607
(510) 768-3100

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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