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Link & Learn Taxes

Linking volunteers to quality e-learning solutions

Link & Learn Taxes, is the web-based program providing eight certification courses for volunteers and a refresher course for returning volunteers. This training prepares Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) partners and volunteers to provide quality tax return preparation services in their local communities. This fun, interactive course teaches you to accurately prepare income tax returns for individuals and users can obtain volunteer certification along the way at their own pace! Some tax professionals can even earn continuing education credits when certifying at the designated level and meeting other specific requirements.

Becoming a Volunteer

If you are interested in working with this program as a volunteer but are not connected to a volunteer site just submit your contact information using the VITA/TCE Volunteer Sign Up - Form 14310. Please be sure to include your contact information along with the city and state where you want to become a volunteer. Your information will be forwarded to the sponsoring partners in your area for further contact.

Student Volunteers

Students will go through an interactive e-learning tool with lessons that include tax topics, case studies, and interview simulations. Each lesson has media icons linking to any available media concerning the subject, and includes links to Tax Facts, Assessments, TaxWise Tutorials, Job Aids and the Practice Lab. Once lessons are completed students may certify at the level appropriate to their training. Returning students may complete a “What’s New This Year” lesson and then certify at the level appropriate to their training and experience.

Instructor Volunteers

For instructors there are lesson plans, answers to exercise questions that include completed tax forms and related links to external Web sites.

Continuing Education Credit

Tax Professionals (Enrolled Agents and Other Tax Return Preparers) can earn continuing education credits when volunteering as a VITA/TCE instructor or quality reviewer. A Fact Sheet is available with more information on Continuing Education Credits.

Quality Reviewer – to earn up to 14 hours of credits you must:

  1. Notify the IRS Stakeholder Partnerships, Education & Communication (SPEC) partnering organization that you are seeking credits as a quality reviewer and provide the partner your Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN).
  2. Register and include your PTIN in Link & Learn Taxes when certifying in tax law at the “Advanced” level.
  3. Complete Volunteer Standards of Conduct (Ethics) training and pass the test,
  4. Certify at the  “Advanced” certification level using Link & Learn taxes on irs.gov before beginning your volunteer service,
  5. Provide to your SPEC partnering organization Form 13615 printed from Link & Learn reflecting the volunteer certifications completed, and
  6. Review tax returns for accuracy at a VITA or TCE site for a minimum of 10 hours.

Enrolled Agents or Other Tax Return Preparer volunteers meeting the above requirements will receive 14 continuing education credit hours as follows:

  • 1 hour for Ethics training (Volunteer Standards of Conduct),
  • 3 hours for Federal Tax Law Updates, and
  • 10 hours for Federal Tax Law

Instructor – to earn up to 8 hours of credits you must:

  1. Notify the SPEC partnering organization you are seeking credits as an instructor and provide the partner your Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN).
  2. Register and include your PTIN in Link & Learn Taxes when certifying in tax law at the “Advanced” level.
  3. Complete Volunteer Standards of Conduct (Ethics) training and pass the test,
  4. Certify at the “Advanced” certification level using Link & Learn taxes on irs.gov before beginning your volunteer service, and
  5. Provide to your SPEC partnering organization Form 13615 printed from Link & Learn reflecting the volunteer certifications completed, and
  6. Certify and teach for a minimum of 4 hours in one or more specialty certification levels, which includes: Health Savings Accounts (HSA), Puerto Rico, Military, International and Cancellation of Debt (COD) 

Enrolled Agents or Other Tax Return Preparer volunteers meeting the above requirements will receive 8 continuing education credit hours as follows:

  • 1 hour for Ethics training (Volunteer Standards of Conduct),
  • 3 hours for Federal Tax Law Updates, and
  • 4 hours for Teaching Specialty Tax Law course(s).

A volunteer meeting all requirements of a Quality Reviewer and Instructor is entitled to a maximum of 18 hours of continuing education credits.  Credit for Ethics training and Federal Tax Law updates is provided only one time. During self-registration, you must register using a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). The IRS office responsible for this program will validate time served as either a Quality Reviewer or Instructor.

Not yet a VITA/TCE volunteer but interested in becoming a volunteer and earning CE credits? Submit your contact information using the VITA/TCE Volunteer Sign Up - Form 14310. Be sure to indicate you are interested in volunteering as an instructor or quality reviewer in the comments box.

Link & Learn Taxes - There are eight modules to the current application.

  • Basic Course: Covers the completion of wage earner type returns. Social security income and penalty on early withdrawal of savings is part of the Basic course.
  • Advanced: Covers the completion of the full scope of returns. Includes capital gains and losses and more complex pension issues.
  • Puerto Rico: Covers the completion of returns for U.S. citizens who are bona fide residents of Puerto Rico.
  • Foreign Student and Scholars: Covers the completion of returns for international students and scholars.

Optional Specialty Courses

  • Military: Covers the full scope of returns presented by members of the Armed Forces, Reserve and National Guard. It requires certification in Advanced. This course covers domestic military topics, therefore military representatives or instructors going overseas to provide assistance or teach must be certified in both Military and International courses.
  • International: Covers the completion of returns for taxpayers, military and non-military, living outside the United States and assisted by volunteers working at U.S. Embassies and Consulates or military installations. This requires certification in Advanced. Includes Foreign Income Exclusion and Foreign Tax Credit.
  • Cancellation of Debt (COD): Includes certain mortgage forgiveness debt on a principal residence and credit card debt. This in-scope topic is limited to non-business credit card debt involving solvent taxpayers. It requires certification in Advanced.
  • Health Savings Accounts (HSAs): Covers who is eligible for an HSA and the tax treatment of HSA contributions and distributions and requires Basic certification or higher.

 

 

Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 22-Oct-2014