Volunteer Training Resources


VITA/TCE Training Supplement

Publication 4491-X, VITA/TCE Training Supplement contains new tax law training and other updates to the VITA/TCE training products. Volunteer tax preparers and course instructors must complete the supplemental training in this publication before assisting taxpayers. Typically, this publication is available on this Web site in mid-December of each year to download for training purposes. For Filing Season 2019 only, Publication 4491-X is available to order through your local IRS-SPEC tax consultant. See also the Other Technical Resources and Training Products section at the bottom of this page.

VITA/TCE Student & Instructor Training Kits

Volunteer tax preparation training uses a process-based approach to engage each student in the return preparation process. Role play and demonstrations on how to use the technical tools to complete an accurate return are used extensively. Students may use the following printed training materials for the Basic, Advanced, Military and International courses:

    • Publication 4480, Link & Learn Taxes Kit - consists of the Publication 4491, Student Training Guide  and Form 6744 - Test/Retest. Publication 4480 is the cover transmittal for the kit. The electronic course evaluation form is part of Link & Learn Taxes online. 
    • Publication 4012, Volunteer Resource Guide – a training tool which should also be used at the site when preparing returns.

E-learning Products - CDs are also available for students who prefer this method of learning:

    • Publication 5051 CD - contains Publications 4491, 4012 and a number of other training materials
    • Publication 1290 CD - contains the Link & Learn Taxes application

For ordering guidance and other information, please consult your local IRS-SPEC tax consultant.

VITA/TCE Instructor Training Guidance

Instructor guidance is available to volunteer instructors on IRS.gov. Publication 4555-e, VITA/TCE e-Instructor Guidance, contains information for instructors who teach volunteers how to prepare tax returns using Link and Learn Taxes or the printed VITA/TCE training guide (Publication 4491). The instructor guidance contains the following information:

    • Instructor preparation tools
    • Checklist for teaching each lesson
    • Lessons, problems, exercises and online tools for each curriculum
    • Answers to frequently asked instructor questions
    • Links to online and ordered training resources

While all volunteers are encouraged to take the test online for electronic grading, immediate feedback and certification, the answers to the Test/Retest (Publication 4189) will be made available electronically to external instructors, site coordinators, and IRS-SPEC territory managers through Link & Learn Taxes in mid-December or through the local IRS-SPEC territory office. Instructors may find other helpful information in Publication 1084, Site Coordinator Handbook and on the Site Coordinator Corner.

Foreign Student and Scholar Return Preparation Products

The course is designed as a stand-alone training resource. It can also be used in conjunction with the Basic and Advanced VITA/TCE course content using Link and Learn Taxes online.

Additional resources are listed below and are available through an IRS-SPEC tax consultant or on the IRS Forms and Publication page.

    • Publication 4011, Foreign Students and Scholars Resource Guide  
    • Publication 4152, Electronic Toolkit for Nonresident Alien
    • Publication 4704-FS, Foreign Student and Scholar Test
    • Foreign Student and Scholar Test Answer Key (Publication 4704 FS-A) is also available to partners from an IRS-SPEC tax consultant.
    • Form 13614NR, Intake and Interview Sheet for Nonresident Aliens

Resident of Puerto Rico Products

    • Puerto Rico Resource Guide (Publication 4696 PR) 
    • Puerto Rico test for Volunteers (Publication 4695 PR) 
    • Instructor Guide and Test Answers (Publication 4695 PR-A)  

Other Technical Resources and Training Products

All volunteer return preparers including instructors are encouraged to visit the Partner and Volunteer Resources Center on IRS.gov for the latest information about technical issues and program updates.   The following are additional technical resources for volunteer return preparation training:  

    • Tax Software Practice Lab
    • Publication 17 - Your Federal Income Tax for Individuals
    • Consult your IRS-SPEC territory office for following:
      • Answer keys to all certification tests/retests   
      • Product Ordering Guidance
      • e-file Administrator’s Handbook (Publication 3189)
    • Volunteer Hotline (available late January through mid-April)
    • Electronic and downloadable Forms and Publications
    • Tax Trails can help you find answers to general tax questions on deductions, exclusions, tax credits and other tax topics
    • Hot topics from the IRS newsroom