The Charles River Public Internet Center (CRPIC) will run a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Center in downtown Waltham to help low-income families file their state and federal taxes during the 2017 tax season using online tax preparation software. It is also seeking to identify families eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The EITC has been heralded as one of the most successful federal anti-poverty programs ever developed. Unfortunately, those who need help most often don’t know about EITC or how to file for it. The IRS estimates that 15-20% of eligible Massachusetts families do not claim EITC. For Waltham, total estimated EITC is nearly $3.5 million.
By working in a VITA center during tax season, you can help ensure that low-income working families get their taxes filed correctly and for free and get the full refund they’ve earned. In today’s economy that’s money to pay for heat and food, create savings, or invest in job training or education to build a better future for their children. This position also provides substantial, real-world tax preparation and managerial experience for accounting and tax students.
Position Summary - Volunteer Tax Preparers:
The Charles River Public Internet Center (CRPIC) runs a VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) Center in downtown Waltham each year from late January to mid-April. We are seeking volunteer tax counselors to help lower income individuals and families prepare their 2016 federal and state tax returns using on-line tax preparation software. Our goal is to assist a minimum of 500 households file their taxes and help them claim tax credits for which they may be eligible. Volunteer counselors prepare tax returns for our clients within IRS guidelines and applicable CRPIC policies. Volunteers get trained as a qualified tax counselor using the easily accessed online training program on the IRS website. You do not need to be a tax or accounting professional for this volunteer position, the IRS trains hundreds of people from all walks of life for this program every year. CRPIC also provides an onsite VITA Coordinator to supervise and support volunteers. Volunteers sign up for a specific 4-hour shift that meets the same time each week at CRPIC for about 12 weeks. The total time commitment for volunteers is approximately 50 hours over the entire tax season.
- Ability to learn and apply basic tax knowledge. TRAINING IS PROVIDED ON-LINE AT THE IRS WEBSITE
- basic computer skills for inputting data correctly
- Commitment to performing tasks completely and accurately
- Excellent interpersonal skills and the desire to help people
- Ability and desire to work with people from diverse backgrounds
- Ability to maintain confidentiality of client information
- Availability and commitment to work for the entire tax season during specified shifts
Volunteers need to plan on completing their tax training and taking the certification tests in December 2016 or January 2017. You will also need to attend the CRPIC on-site orientation in January 2017 that includes the software orientation and state tax return tips. During tax season (approximately January 23 rd through April 18 th), CRPIC will provide tax preparation on Monday and Thursday evenings and on Friday and Saturday during the day. There is 1 four-hour shift on Monday and Thursday evenings and 2 four-hour shifts/day on Fridays and Saturdays. Volunteers should commit to one weekly 4 hour shift for the entire tax season, but are welcome to work more shifts or to sub for other volunteers with unforeseen conflicts/illness. We also ask that you pick a first and second choice of the specific day on which you would like to volunteer. We especially need volunteers for Monday evenings and Friday mornings. Actual shift time over the tax season is approximately 50 hours and preliminary training and testing may take several additional hours.
Supervision and Volunteer Liability:
- Volunteers will be supervised while on-site by a VITA Site Coordinator. The Coordinator will be available to provide support, guidance, and answer questions. In addition, the Coordinator will make sure a quality check of all returns is completed, and prepare tax returns for electronic filing.
- Volunteers are covered under the Volunteer Protection Act of 1997, which can be found at www.irs.gov/individuals. In summary, it states that "as long as the volunteer acts within the scope of the Volunteer Return Preparation Program, and has been certified by the IRS as a Volunteer Tax Preparer, they shall not be held liable for any harm caused by an act or omission on their part."
Volunteer Tax Preparer Responsibilites:
- Become IRS certified to the Advanced level in tax preparation. You do this by completing the training provided by the IRS using its on-line Link and Learn Tax course. The course may be accessed from the IRS website, www.irs.gov . Total time to complete the training for the first time is about 10 hours for non-accounting or tax types and less for those more familiar with tax rules. The open book certification tests take about 1-2 hours to complete. Many people complete the courses and testing in significantly less time. Test scores and certificates MUST be submitted to the Site Coordinator at CRPIC - emailing pdf’s is the preferred method of submission.
- Complete an on-line Volunteer Agreement Form and print two copies. Print these BEFORE submitting the completed form electronically to the IRS. Keep one copy of the printed form for your records and give the other copy to the Site Coordinator at CRPIC.
- Participate in a volunteer orientation at CRPIC that includes training on using the tax preparation software and VITA program and CRPIC policies. Estimated time is 1-2 hours in late January, 2017.
- Provide high quality tax assistance to CRPIC clients with the supervision and support of the Site Coordinator. Prepare client returns based on information they provide and answer their tax-related questions. Adhere to Title VI by not denying service to anyone based on race, color, sex, age, national origin, or disability.
Benefits to Volunteer:
- Rewarding volunteer experience, with the chance to help low income people maximize their income
- Opportunity to build tax law and electronic tax preparation skills
- Great resume-building experience
- Opportunity to meet and network with other volunteers and enjoy the camaraderie that builds within a tax prep program
This is a volunteer position.
How to Apply:
Please send a resume or email to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org with "VITA Volunteer Tax Preparer" in the subject line. You may also apply by regular mail to Judith Webster, Executive Director, Charles River Public Internet Center, P.O. Box 540589, Waltham, MA 02454
The Charles River Public Internet Center (CRPIC) is a 17 year old private nonprofit organization in Waltham, Massachusetts that advances technology and Internet literacy for adults and youth by empowering people with the technical skills necessary to succeed in today’s rapidly changing world. The CRPIC offers a variety of programs for youth, unemployed/underemployed individuals, senior citizens, local nonprofit organizations, as well as area businesses. We provide the general public with a welcoming space equipped with computers connected to the Internet that can be used free of charge. We offer informal assistance on an as-needed basis to the public, and also provide free, one-on-one, scheduled tutoring sessions. We also provide a variety of low-cost computer classes on many software packages and applications. We are aprivate occupational school licensed by the MA Division of Public Licensure.We run free or low-cost semester-long computer training classes, the SkillStep Program, for qualified registrants and the general public. CRPIC also conducts Financial Literacy classes that will be available to VITA clients as well as the general public. We serve over 2,000 people from over 20 communities each year. We are currently open to the public from noon to 8:00 pm, Monday through Thursday. We are easily accessible by car, bus, and Commuter Rail. For more information, please visit: www.crpic.org.
- People Skills
- ETC / Tax Assistance
- Basic Computer Skills
- Data Entry
Good Match For
People 55+ Group
Requirements & Commitment
- Must be at least 18
- Orientation or Training
- Approximately 4 hrs/week for 12 weeks
- Certification training on IRS website - Link & Learn