Volunteer a Few Hours andMake a Huge Difference!
What do tax volunteers do?
IRS-certified volunteers file federal and state returns electronically at no charge to the taxpayer. There are four possible jobs for volunteers:
- Volunteer Tax Preparers meet with taxpayers and prepare basic tax returns using TaxWise online software, then file them electronically.
- Greeters oversee client sign-in and direct them to complementary services where available.
- Intake Specialists assist clients in completing the Intake sheet and ensure that they are eligable for the VITA program.
Responsibilities and Duties
Do I need to be a "math" person to volunteer as a Tax Preparer?
Not at all. All the math is done by computer. You need to like to meet new people, pay attention to details and be able to think logically, so that you get the information you need to complete the return. You also need basic computer and typing skills. Plus, we have calculators!
What if I make a mistake?
No one’s perfect, but you will be well-trained and there are several checks on your work. The tax software catches most errors, and each return is reviewed by another trained person before it is actually filed. As a VITA volunteer, you are protected from any liability for any mistakes you make.
How do I get the training and take the certification tests?
We provide in-person tax training for all potential volunteers. You can also use the IRS Link and Learn site (apps.irs.gov/app/vita/) to study online whenever you like. You must be certified by the IRS at the Advanced level to be a Preparer or Quality Reviewer, which involves passing a test online either during training or on your own time. Greeters and Guides only need to pass an ethics test.
How much time am I expected to volunteer?
Volunteer Tax Preparers and Quality Reviewers are asked to commit at least 10 hours a month for the three-month tax season (30 hours total, mid-January to mid-April), and most volunteer one or two sessions a week (three to four hours each). You can be flexible and volunteer at different sites as your schedule permits. You can sign up for the shifts and locations that are most convenient. Greeters and Guides are asked to work in three to four hour shifts, for at least four shifts over the season.
How long does it take to prepare a return?
Most returns can be completed in a half-hour or so, after you get oriented to the software. Returns for taxpayers who have multiple employers or many dependents, child care expenses and education credits may take longer. Careful preparation is more important than speed. You want to make sure that the taxpayer reports income and deductions accurately, pays only what he/she owes, and gets the maximum refund for which he/she is eligible.
Why is this free tax preparation program important?
You are directly helping people who don’t make a lot of money to get what they’ve earned. Even if a taxpayer isn’t eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), you have saved them hundreds of dollars in preparation fees. And if you have filed for the EITC for someone who would otherwise have filed a 1040-EZ and missed this credit, your work may add up to $6,242 more to their pocket. Think what difference that could make for a family trying to buy their first house, pay off bills or even afford household necessities.
Volunteer Tax Preparer Job Description: Volunteers offer free tax preparation services to low-to-moderate income taxpayers who cannot afford paid professional assistance. Preparers completed tax returns for e-filing using TaxWise software. They provide a high level of customer service while insuring their clients receive the tax credits and deductions that are allowed by law. Volunteer preparers may prepare prior year returns as well.
Responsibilities: Greet and interview clients. Determine eligibility for tax credits. Prepare basic and/or advanced tax returns for federal, state and city. Have client sign relevant tax documents. Distribute signed copies of required tax documents to site & client. Collect client demographics. Inform clients of other assistance.
Skills: Good customer service skills. Strong problem solving skills and attention to detail. Ability to work with diverse peoples. Basic computing skills. Punctual, consistent, reliable and able to work independently throughout the tax season.
Preferences: Already completed Federal Tax for Individuals or attend In seat VITA training.
Call 413-263-6500 x6517 or email email@example.com (Email preferred)
721 State Street Springfield MA
Job Types: Part-time, Temporary
- ETC / Tax Assistance
- Community Outreach
Good Match For
People 55+ Group
Requirements & Commitment
- Must be at least 18
- Orientation or Training
- 8-10 hours weekly x 4.5 months
- Must completed volunteer application, personal interview and attend orientation.