All individuals—including IRS employees participating in the VITA and TCE Programs—who answer tax law questions, instruct tax law, prepare or correct tax returns and/or conduct quality reviews of completed tax returns must be certified.
There are six courses of study —
Each course is performance based and uses a process-based approach to engage students in the tax return preparation process. The courses for foreign students and scholars and for Puerto Rico residents are available only on Link & Learn Taxes. The other four courses are available both on Link & Learn Taxes and in print.
Delivery Method Options
Link & Learn Taxes is the preferred method for volunteer training. All six courses of study are available on the IRS Website, and each course of study has a curriculum and certification track. Link and Learn Taxes contains the ElectronicTax Software Practice Lab which connects the student to the tax preparation software used at volunteer sites. The problems and exercises (Publication 4491-W) can also be completed using the Electronic Tax Software Practice Lab for hands-on experience preparing tax returns using tax preparation software.
Another useful feature of Link and Learn Taxes is the feedback and scoring feature of the application. Volunteers, instructors, and employees taking the Test/Retest (Form 6744) via Link and Learn Taxes will receive immediate feedback about the accuracy of their entries as well as a certificate of certification (if applicable).
Classroom or self-study instruction can be accomplished using Link and Learn Taxes and Publication 4491. Information in the Form 1040 Instructions and in Publication 17 are the major sources of content in both products. Sponsors/coordinators are encouraged to work with local IRS-SPEC tax consultants to determine the appropriate training environment and technical training guide (Link and Learn Taxes, Link and Learn Taxes on CD-ROM, or Publication 4491).