In-person training option
In-person training is offered to those who commit to volunteering and sign up for tax sites! Please visit our Volunteer Sign-Up page and sign up for a site first! Volunteers must sign up for a site first, before registering for any in-person training.
Self-paced, online training and certification option
Link and Learn (https://www.linklearncertification.com/d/) is the online certification system for this tax volunteer program and is updated by the IRS every year in mid-November. Quick tips:
- You can start your tests at anytime, save your progress, and return to them later.
- The tests are completely open-book. This isn’t about memorizing every single detail in tax law;
be sure to use your resources!
- There isn’t any time limit for the tests.
- You have 2 attempts at each certification.
- Before you start any in-class training, be sure to complete the first two certification tests: the Volunteer Standards of Conduct Exam (i.e. Ethics test) and the Intake/Interview Exam (another short 10 question test).
To get started, you can follow the “Getting Started” guide below to create an account!
Link & Learn Instructions – this document will assist you in creating a login all the way through the certification process.
TaxSlayer (Software) Training
TaxSlayer is the software used nationwide for the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. Visit our TaxSlayer webpage to access the webinars and learn how to use the software!
Tax Law Changes
View the IRS’ summary of tax law changes thus far.
IRS publications (resources to use during training/certification)
- IRS Form 13615 – Volunteer Agreement (UP-TO-DATE. Version 10/2017)
- IRS Form 13614c – Intake Sheet in English (UP-TO-DATE. Version 10/2017) – The intake sheet this year will be printed in white!
- IRS Pub 4012 – Volunteer Resource Guide (UP-TO-DATE. Version 10/2017)
- IRS Pub 4491 – Training Guide (UP-TO-DATE. Version 10/2017)
- IRS Pub 4491W – Supplemental Training Problems and Exercises – EVERGREEN version. Will not be updated.
- IRS Pub 4491-X (NOT YET CURRENT. Version 12/2016. Will be updated in December of 2017) – Reference showing all the updates to these training publications, since they first went to print.
- Pub 5157A Affordable Care Act (ACA) Scenarios (UP-TO-DATE. Version 10/2017) – Practice scenarios for working with clients you will see at the site who different types of health coverage.
- IRS Pub 6744 – Volunteer Test/Re-test (UP-TO-DATE. Version 10/2017)
- IRS Pub 17 – Tax Guide: PDF | ONLINE WEBPAGE (NOT YET CURRENT. Version 12/2016. Will be updated in December of 2017) – Handy reference.
IRS online training tax lessons, homework, and practice
- Filing status
- Standard deduction
- Education credits
- Earned Income Tax Credit
Foreign Student Certification
Visit our Foreign Student Certification – Training Material webpage.
CA State Tax Information
View the Slide Deck from 2017.01.28 – CA FTB Training (taught by Mark Callahan, CA FTB Statewide Volunteer Program Coordinator).
- CA EITC is refundable. Max credit amounts are same as last year. Requires earned income reported on a W-2. Unlike federal EITC, income from self-employment cannot be used to qualify for the California credit
- Check the renter’s credit box as “yes” if the taxpayer qualifies for the credit. Note that renter’s credit is nonrefundable, which means it will offset any tax liability and not refund anything further if the tax liability is already zero
- If taxpayer had dependent care, care provider’s phone number is required information
- Head-of-Household (HoH) filing status doesn’t flow into state return from federal return. So you have to add FTB Form 3532 into the state return. To do this, answer YES to “Do you need to make any adjustments to the return?” which will take you to a list where you have to add the HoH form
- Bank name is not required information because routing number is provided
- Cannot split refund in state section of software (this is a software issue because the state allows it but the software doesn’t support it)
- Taxpayers MUST sign CA 8879, which authorizes the tax site to e-file the state return
- If they make a voluntary contribution, it WILL affect their refund amount or balance owed. (This is different from the federal presidential election fund.)
CA FTB Publications:
- FTB 5130 – VITA/TCE California Volunteer Reference Manual (NOT YET CURRENT. Version 12/2016. Will be updated in December of 2017.)
- FTB Resource Page – Landing page for all CA FTB resources related to VITA.
- CA 540 booklet (NOT YET CURRENT. Version 1/2017. Will be updated in January of 2018.
- EKS Overview Video – learn about Earn It! Keep It! Save It! and the important work you are a part of as a volunteer!
- Intake and Interview Process Video – watch how one EKS VITA site handles the client intake and interview process before preparing a tax return.
- Wrapping up the Tax Return Video – check out how one EKS VITA site wraps up the tax return process.
- Why Save – this five minute training video for EKS volunteers discusses how you can help encourage taxpayers to save all or part of their refund
- How to Save – this five minute training video for EKS volunteer discusses the process at the site of saving a taxpayer’s refund