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Issue Number: Tax Tip 2022-161
IRS-certified volunteers make a difference for millions of taxpayers
Every year, IRS-certified volunteers help millions of taxpayers across the country file their tax returns. Volunteering is a great opportunity for anyone who wants to make a difference in their community, learn about tax preparation and earn continuing education credits.
There are two IRS volunteer programs
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs offer free basic tax return preparation to qualified individuals. While the IRS manages the VITA and TCE programs, the VITA/TCE sites are operated by IRS partners and staffed by volunteers.
- VITA offers free help to people who generally earn $60,000 or less, people with disabilities and limited English-speaking taxpayers.
- TCE 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.
Volunteering is easy and convenient
- 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 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 include 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.
VITA Volunteer sign-up page
IRS Free Tax Return Preparation Programs
Link & Learn Taxes
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