Here’s how people can become an IRS-certified volunteer

IRS Tax Tip 2021-155, October 20, 2021

The IRS and its community partners encourage people to make a difference in communities across the country by becoming an IRS-certified volunteer. These volunteers will help taxpayers file their tax returns during the upcoming tax season.

  • Volunteer Income Tax Assistance offers free tax return preparation to eligible taxpayers who generally earn $58,000 or less, people with disabilities and limited English-speaking taxpayers.
  • Tax Counseling for the Elderly is mainly for people age 60 or older. Although the program focuses on tax issues unique to seniors, most taxpayers can usually get free assistance. Many sites in the TCE program are operated through AARP Foundation Tax-Aide.

There are many reasons to volunteer:

  • Volunteers can work flexible hours. Volunteers can generally choose their own hours and days to volunteer. Tax preparation sites are usually open from late January through the tax filing deadline in April. Some sites are even open all year.
  • Volunteers can work virtually from anywhere. Some volunteer sites will offer virtual help for taxpayers. This allows volunteers to help taxpayers complete their tax returns over the phone or online. Some volunteers will conduct a virtual quality review with the taxpayer before e-filing their tax return.
  • No prior experience needed. Volunteers receive specialized training to become IRS-certified. They can also choose from a variety of volunteer roles to serve. VITA and TCE programs want volunteers of all backgrounds and ages, as well as individuals who are fluent in other languages.
  • The IRS provides free tax law training and materials. Volunteers receive training materials at no charge. The tax law training covers how to prepare basic federal tax returns electronically. The training also covers tax topics, such as deductions and credits.
  • Tax pros can earn continuing education credits. Enrolled agents and non-credentialed tax return preparers can earn continuing education credits when volunteering as a VITA or TCE instructor, quality reviewer or tax return preparer.
  • Read testimonials from real VITA volunteers. Learn more about volunteers who help people in their communities.

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