6.308.1 Student Volunteer Service


  1. Volunteer service is performed under 5 USC § 3111 with the permission of the institution at which the student is enrolled as part of an agency program established for providing educational experience for the student.

  2. A student is an individual who must be enrolled at least half time in a high school, trade school, technical or vocational institute, 2 or 4-year college or university or other accredited educational institution.

  3. Other volunteer service under programs for persons other than students is defined in the individual laws and regulations authorizing those programs.


  1. Volunteer Service program requirements may be found at:

    1. 5 USC § 81

    2. 5 USC § 2671

    3. 5 USC § 3111

    4. Pub. L. No. 95-454

    5. 5 CFR Part 308

Student Volunteer Service

  1. The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, 5 USC § 3111, Pub. L. No. 95-454, as amended by Pub. L. No. 97-437, authorized Federal departments and agencies to establish programs designed to provide educationally related work assignments for students.

  2. The Student Volunteer Service provides the IRS with an opportunity to enrich the educational opportunities of students and gives students early career experiences to guide them in making future vocational choices.

  3. The duties of the position must be related to the student’s curriculum.

  4. Student's work experience gained through this program may be credited as related experience under examination rating procedures.

Eligibility and Status

  1. A student participating under this program should be in conformance with Federal, state, or local laws and standards governing the employment of minors.

  2. Student volunteer service under this program is not creditable for leave accrual or any other employee benefits.

  3. All student volunteers must be at least 16 years of age.

Written Agreement

  1. A written agreement is required between the IRS, the school, and the student volunteer. This written agreement should include a description of the program, its objectives and benefits to the school, the IRS, and the student. The agreement should define the responsibility of the student, the school, and the IRS in planning and coordinating the student's academic and work experience. A sample agreement is provided below in Exhibit 6.308.1-1, Student Volunteer Service Program Agreement.

Entitlements and Restrictions

  1. Student volunteers are considered Federal employees for the following purposes under 5 USC § 3111, the Tort Claims Act.

    1. Laws related to confidentiality and disclosure of tax return information;

    2. Laws related to authorized disclosure of tax returns and tax return information by Federal employees and other persons;

    3. Laws related to suits against employees of the United States; and

    4. Laws related to criminal and civil penalties for unauthorized disclosure of information protected by IRC 6103.

  2. Student volunteers are not entitled to benefits such as sick or annual leave, health or life insurance, or payment of any kind from the IRS.

Employment Office Responsibilities

  1. OPM’s Guide to Processing Personnel Actions, Chapter 33, Documentation of Volunteer Service, contains instructions and suggestions for documenting service performed without compensation by persons who do not receive a Federal appointment. An SF-50, Notification of Personnel Action, cannot be used to document volunteer service or appointments.

  2. Human Capital Office (HCO), Employment, Talent, and Security (ETS), Employment Offices (EOs) are responsible for:

    1. Coordinating with business operating divisions (BODs) to conduct interviews of their potential student volunteers;

    2. Ensuring the appropriate forms (fingerprint, tax consent, badge), and any other documents needed are received;

    3. Issuing an IRS Unpaid Student Volunteer Commitment Letter with reporting instructions to the BOD and student volunteer;

    4. Maintaining individual folders for all unpaid student volunteers along with copies of their Unpaid Student Volunteer Commitment Letters; and

    5. Monitoring the unpaid student volunteer’s not-to-exceed date as identified in the commitment letter to ensure the timely termination of his or her voluntary appointment.

Investigation and Disclosure of IRS Information

  1. Investigation requirements for the student volunteer will be determined by the student work duties. These duties will be matched as closely as possible to actual positions. For example, student volunteers participating in projects involving duties similar to those of a computer specialist will require an investigation for a moderate risk position.

  2. Student volunteers may have access to information including tax returns and tax return information as necessary in the performance of their duties. Each student must be made aware of the laws and regulations governing disclosure of tax returns and tax return information. They must also be made aware of the laws and regulations governing the protection and privacy of records pertaining to individuals and standards of conduct required by Executive Order 11222.

  3. Student volunteers may not disclose any tax returns or tax return information obtained in any manner except as authorized by IRC § 6103(h)(1), (k)(6), and (l)(4). Unauthorized disclosure. Student volunteers will be subject to criminal and civil penalties for unauthorized disclosure of information protected by IRC § 6103.

  4. All student volunteers must be fingerprinted (See IRM 10.23.3, Personnel Security, Personnel Security/Suitability Program, for additional information available at: http://publish.no.irs.gov/pubsys/irm/indp10.htm ) and given a standard employee orientation upon entering on duty.

Program Evaluation and Reporting Requirements

  1. Each appointing office will conduct periodic reviews of this program to assess compliance with laws/regulations and usefulness in organizational goals/objectives in terms of relationships with the students and the schools. These programs may be subject to Human Capital Office review as part of the Personnel Staffing Accountability Program.

  2. As reports are requested by the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) and OPM, the Human Capital Office will request the appropriate information from servicing HCO, ETS, EOs.

Student Volunteer Service Program Agreement

The IRS must execute a statement of agreement with the student and school for each participant in the Student Volunteer Service Program. Each student volunteer requires a separate agreement between the IRS, the participating school, and the student. An agreement should follow the basic conceptual guidelines of the sample agreement below. While there may be some extraneous information in this sample agreement, care should be taken by all IRS offices to ensure that agreements meet the minimum requirements of 5 CFR Part 308.

Student Volunteer Service Program Agreement between IRS, (cite school), and (cite student)

This agreement forms the basis of understanding between the IRS, (cite school), and (cite student) for the performance of student volunteer service.

(1) Authority and Purpose:

  • The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, Title 5 USC § 3111, Section 301 Pub. L. No. 95-454, as amended by Pub. L. No. 97-437, authorizes the IRS to establish a program for utilizing student volunteer services. This program involves periods of work experience which relate to the student’s course of study in an approved curriculum. Arrangements are made with the school for selecting and enrolling the student and for scheduling and coordinating the student’s work experience.

(2) Student’s Responsibilities:

  • Perform educationally related work assignments as directed by the IRS office in increments of at least ______hours per day/week for a minimum total of _____ hours for the term of this agreement;

  • Follow the rules of conduct of the IRS and the Department of the Treasury;

  • Not disclose returns or return information obtained in any manner as a result of services rendered under this agreement, except as authorized by the IRC § 6103(H)(1), (k)(6), and (1)(4);

  • Not disclose any information about an individual or business obtained through office records as a result of services rendered under this agreement except as authorized by the Privacy Act of 1974, Title 5 USC § 552a;

  • Not retain any part of the work product after the termination of this agreement without the express written consent of the IRS, as the work product resulting from services performed under this agreement remain the property of the United States; and

  • Not represent or assist any matter administered by the IRS if such representation would violate the provisions of Treasury Department Circular No. 230, 18 USC § 2007(a) or (b), or the Bar Association’s Code of Professional Responsibilities.

(3) School’s Responsibilities:

  • Appoint a school official to serve as liaison with the IRS on matters relating to the Student Volunteer Service Program;

  • Refer eligible qualified students to the IRS. In addition, the student must be an achiever, demonstrate leadership, motivation, and sincere interest in the position to be filled. These referrals must be made without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin or age, and students must indicate an interest in working with the IRS;

  • Advise IRS of school requirements concerning attendance and performance records, or any other requirements—particularly if the student is to receive course credit for the related assignment; and

  • Inform IRS of any change in status of the student that would disqualify the student from participation in the program.

(4) IRS’ Responsibilities:

  • Each Business Operating Division that utilizes this program will appoint someone to serve as liaison with the school on matters relating to the Student Volunteer Service Program;

  • Business Operating Divisions will be responsible for contacting the school for referrals of highly-qualified students when opportunities exist under the Student Volunteer Service Program;

  • Select student volunteer participants from candidates referred by the school;

  • Ensure that each student volunteer receives specific on-the-job training assignments in the field of their formal curriculum designed for the best development of his/her knowledge and skills;

  • Maintain records on student performance and other administrative matters which will be made available to the school upon request; and

  • Notify the school if the volunteer work experience by the student stops because of unsatisfactory progress, lack of interest, or failure to meet conduct standards.

(5) Description of Work:

  • Duties of this position will be to participate in a special training program consisting of planned on-the-job training with the IRS and study at (cite school). While on the job, the student volunteer will work under the guidance of (cite appropriate manager), and will assist (cite appropriate employee or office) by performing the duties listed below. This list is subject to amendment or revision by IRS without prior consultation with either the student or the school.

(Insert duties)

The Service will notify both the school and the student in advance of the termination of this agreement and provide an explanation outlining the reason(s) for the separation.

This agreement in no way commits the IRS to offer a permanent position to the student at the end of the assignment.

This agreement can be renegotiated whenever its provisions are determined to be unsatisfactory to either the Service or the school. Conditions of the agreement are subject to immediate change by new legislation or policy revision. Changes required by legislation and policy revisions are mandatory.

Signature (IRS Representative) Signature (School Representative)
Title Date Title Date
Signature (Student) Date