Signing up to be an IRS-certified volunteer is a great way to help people
Tax Tip 2023-120
November 6, 2023
IRS-certified volunteers are the unsung heroes of tax filing season. Every year, they step up to help taxpayers successfully file their tax returns. Anyone who wants to make a difference in their community, learn about tax preparation and earn continuing education credits should consider volunteering.
There are two IRS volunteer programs
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs both 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.
- VITAoffers free help to people who generally earn $60,000 or less, people with disabilities and limited English-speaking taxpayers.
- TCEis mainly for people age 60 or older and specializes in tax issues unique to seniors.
Volunteers are needed to fill a variety of roles beyond tax preparation, including:
- Quality reviewers
- Marketing specialists
- Computer specialists
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 open all year.
- Volunteers can work virtually from anywhere.Some volunteer sites offer virtual help for taxpayers. This means volunteers can help taxpayers complete their tax returns over the phone or online. Some volunteers will conduct a virtual quality review before helping the taxpayer e-file their tax return.
- No prior experience needed.Volunteers receive specialized training to become IRS certified. They can also choose their volunteer role. 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 educationcredits when volunteering as a VITA or TCE instructor, quality reviewer or tax return preparer.