Become a tax volunteer and learn a vital skill

 

October 16, 2020

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. For over 50 years, tax volunteers have made an enormous impact in their communities. Volunteers prepare millions of tax returns each filing season by volunteers at thousands of free tax preparation sites nationwide.

With many people experiencing financial changes this year, additional volunteers are needed to assist them. To encourage more people to help, some volunteer sites will now give volunteers the option to assist taxpayers virtually versus the normal face-to-face help they provide. This allows volunteers to help taxpayers over the phone or online to complete their returns. Other volunteers will conduct a quality review with the taxpayer before the tax return is e-filed with the IRS. Virtual volunteering is a great option for new volunteers, since the volunteers can ask experienced volunteers for help while completing tax returns.

Interested?

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. New this year, potential volunteers can tune in virtually to learn more about the program, find out which volunteer role is right for them and ask questions.

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.

For additional information and next steps, you can use the Volunteer Signup form. You will be one step closer to becoming a VITA or TCE tax volunteers and giving back to your community. We will send you more information about attending a virtual orientation and share your volunteer interest with sponsoring organizations in your area.

Below are links to help taxpayers find the information they need.

IRS YouTube

IRS PSA