October 15, 2019
Helping others in your community can be a rewarding experience. By becoming a volunteer with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) or Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs, you can learn to prepare taxes and make a difference at the same time.
You'll receive quality training to provide free tax help for low- to moderate-income families who need assistance preparing their tax returns. In the 50 years since the VITA program started, tax volunteers have made an enormous impact in their communities. Last filing season, over 3.5 million returns were prepared by volunteers at thousands of free tax preparation sites nationwide, but many more free returns can be completed with your help.
As a tax volunteer, you'll be put in contact with an organization that sponsors VITA/TCE sites. Once you complete your training, you'll begin volunteering at a location in your community. Tax sites are generally open various days, nights and weekends. The hours are flexible.
As a volunteer, you'll get all the specialized training you need, so there is no need to worry if you've never prepared a tax return before. You can also choose a volunteer role that doesn't require tax law certification.
There is something for everyone. Here are some of the volunteer roles needed at free tax preparation sites:
Greeter/Screener — As a greeter/screener, you'll greet everyone visiting the site. This role is perfect for those who have no interest in preparing tax returns but love socializing and talking to people. You'll screen taxpayers to determine the type of assistance they need and confirm they brought all the necessary documents to have their tax returns completed. Tax law certification is not required if you are not answering questions about tax law.
Interpreter — As an interpreter, you'll provide language interpretation services to customers who are not fluent in English. Basic tax knowledge is helpful but not required for this position.
Tax Preparer — As a volunteer tax preparer, you'll provide free tax return preparation for eligible taxpayers using electronic filing software. Tax law certification is required for this volunteer role.
Quality Reviewer — As a quality reviewer, you will conduct a quality review of all tax returns completed by volunteer tax preparers, ensuring that every taxpayer receives quality service and an accurate tax return. Tax law certification is required for this volunteer role.
Tax Coach — As a tax coach, you'll work at a self-preparation site. While working at the site, you'll provide tax law assistance and help taxpayers navigate web-based, self- preparation software while they prepare their own tax returns. Tax law certification is required for this volunteer role.
Site Coordinator/Administrator — If you have excellent organizational and leadership skills, volunteering as the site coordinator/administrator may be the position that fits you best. The site coordinator acts as the primary resource for sharing knowledge of the program and assists with any issues that may arise. You'll develop and maintain schedules for all volunteers to ensure adequate coverage. You will also ensure that supplies and equipment at your site are stocked and operational. Tax law certification is not always required for this position.
While it is great if you would like to volunteer for any of these roles on your own, why not "inVITA" friend to join you! It can be a fun experience to go through the VITA/TCE training and volunteer process with a friend or coworker. You can keep each other motivated and celebrate one another's successes.
For additional information and next steps, you and your friends can use the Volunteer Signup form. You will be one step closer to becoming VITA or TCE tax volunteers and giving back to your community. We will share your volunteer interest with sponsoring organizations in your area for follow-up contact.
Below are links to help taxpayers find the information they need.
- Volunteer Income Tax Assistant Recruitment (obsolete)