January 9, 2017

For Trainers

Hello valued EKS Trainers!

Below you will find a host of materials that will hopefully make your training and instruction easier. Why re-create the wheel?!


Scenario-Based Training (SBT)

This teaching method combines the learning of tax law and software into one integrated course and was initially developed in response to feedback from volunteers who wanted more software practice from the get-go. Teaching software alongside the tax law allows volunteers more time to get comfortable with input and navigation, in addition to using their Pub. 4012 as a resource during preparation. SBT highlights the importance of certain topics like must file v. should file, determining filing status, determining dependency, taxable v. non-taxable income – and puts that learning immediately into practice during preparation of scenarios representative of what is typically seen at the tax sites. SBT also teaches to Advanced certification since the majority of sites need this type of tax preparer.


Minor Updates for 2017-2018

Since SBT went through a major overhaul last year and feedback was very positive about it, light updates were made this year based on suggestions from local trainers.

  • Scenario 4– Added: Mary Kent provide IHSS care for granddaughter ($2000). Created 2 versions of this specific scenario- one with taxable amount not determined on one of the 1099Rs and one with taxable amount determined on both 1099Rs — choose the scenario you would prefer to use.
  • Handy resources from Site Coordinators are now noted at the bottom of this webpage
  • The 2017 answers will be provided in 1040 form as soon as TaxSlayer gets updated for the upcoming training season.
  • Additional IHSS scenario added (for more practice)
  • Spelling errors fixed in instructor manual


Instructor Resources

Can be found here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B_Rbo9AfEz8LSWEtNWIzNlNFRmc

Within our online folder referenced above, you can download all of the following:


TRAINERS- Are you experiencing TaxSlayer issues before OR during class?

We strong recommend testing the software the day AND morning before your scheduled class time. That way you can contact TaxSlayer in advance with any problems. Here’s what to do if the system is not operational:

  1. CHECK THE TAXSLAYER BLOG FIRST. Take a look at the TaxSlayer Pro VITA Blog to see if TaxSlayer has made any recent posts about issues it is currently working to resolve.
  2. CALL AND EMAIL TAXSLAYER. View this TaxSlayer Help Desk document PDF to get the email address and phone number for TaxSlayer support for trainers. You will need your site’s SIDN to reach a live person over the phone. (NOTE: EKS team has twice emailed AND called TaxSlayer 2 hours before class began on a Saturday. The TaxSlayer Support Squad was very responsive and got things up and running by the time class started.)
    • Sample email/phone starter: Hi, this is ______ from _________ VITA training site in California. We are teaching class today starting in X hours and the Practice Lab is not operational. This is the issue: (give detailed issue / error here).
    • Other questions you can ask in email/phone: Are you aware of this issue? Is someone working on it? Do you happen to have an estimated time of fix? Is there anything we can do in the meantime? Will you be writing a blog post about this?
    • Despite frustrations, strive to remain polite in all communications with TaxSlayer.

  3. HAVE A BACKUP PLAN. If you have done both of the above steps and the software system isn’t working, be prepared with a back-up plan for what to do during training.


IRS Publications:


Training Resources from Fellow Trainers


Other training resources

Check out the Training Resources webpage we created for volunteers. Let us know if you would to see something added there!

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