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VITA/TCE Basic Course Curriculum

The Basic course covers income from wages, interest and dividends, and certain tax credits for individuals and couples. All volunteers who prepare returns are required to certify at either the Basic or Advanced level. Basic includes the following content:

  • Important Tax Law Changes
  • Course Introduction
  • Filing Basics
  • Filing Status
  • Personal Exemptions
  • Dependency Exemptions
  • Unique Filing Status and Exemption Situations
  • Income                                                      
  • Income - Unemployment Compensation
  • Income - Social Security Benefits
  • Other Income
  • Adjustments to Income (Penalty for Early Withdrawals of Savings)
  • Standard Deduction and Tax Computation
  • Credit for Child and Dependent Care Expenses
  • Itemized Deductions
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Education Credits
  • Miscellaneous Credits
  • Other Taxes
  • Payments
  • Earned Income Credit
  • Refund and Amount of Tax Owed
  • Concluding the Interview
  • Amended Returns

Other Training Materials, Resources, and Tools...

  • Basic Comprehensive Problem & Exercises (Publication 4491-W)
  • Practice using the tax preparation software (accessible via Link & Learn Taxes - Practice Lab)
  • Practice using the interview tips in Publication 4012, Volunteer Resource Guide
  • Detailed discussion about the standards of conduct and signing the volunteer agreement
  • The testing, retesting and certification requirements (Form 6744)
  • Electronic resources on (i.e. Form & Publications Resource page, Partner & Volunteer Resource Center, searchable Publication 17, etc.)
  • Search to check-out the Interactive Tax Assistant, Withholding Calculator, sales tax deduction calculator, Interactive EITC Assistant, Form 1040 Central, Where's My Refund, and more.
Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 29-Sep-2016