Are you completely new to the program or tax preparation in general? Good! You’re in the right place.
Did you know that the majority of our new volunteers do not come from tax backgrounds? We’ve got this. Become a tax volunteer with Earn It! Keep It! Save It! in 3 easy steps:
STEP ONE: Sign up for a site
If you haven’t already done so, visit earnitkeepitsaveit.org/volunteer first to register for a specific volunteer location! This will be where you will volunteer during tax season- most sites open at the end of January or beginning of February. NOTE: In-person training options may be held in a separate location though.
STEP TWO: Train and certify
Next, you’ll want to complete training and online certification:
- (3 minutes) ACCESS THE VOLUNTEER CERTIFICATION SYSTEM. Follow these instructions from the IRS to create an account in Link and Learn – VITA/TCE Central. Be sure to note down your username and password for this site. Highlights about this system:
- NO TIME LIMIT. START AND SAVE YOUR PROGRESS! – Start your certification exams at anytime, save your progress, and return to them later.
- ALL TESTS ARE OPEN-BOOK, MOSTLY MULTIPLE-CHOICE. – This isn’t about memorizing every single detail in tax law. You should refer to these awesome training resources as needed.
- INSTANT RESULTS! TWO ATTEMPTS. – As soon as you submit your answers, your test will be graded. If you miss a question, it won’t give you the answers but will tell you which questions you missed. You have 2 attempts at each exam. Note that if you fail a test, the re-test will have different questions.
- (15 minutes) VOLUNTEER STANDARDS OF CONDUCT (ETHICS) – Refer to IRS Pub. 4961: Volunteer Standards of Conduct / Ethics Training and the online training modules to complete the 10-question, multiple-choice Volunteer Standards of Conduct Exam while logged into Link and Learn – VITA/TCE Central.
- (10 minutes) INTAKE/INTERVIEW AND QUALITY REVIEW (IIQR) – Refer to IRS Pub. 5101: Intake/Interview and Quality Review Training and the online training modules to complete the 10-question, multiple-choice IIQR exam while logged into Link and Learn – VITA/TCE Central.
That was easy enough, right? Once you’ve done the above steps, you can already serve in the greeter and translator/interpreter roles! High-five!
Let’s get you certified as a volunteer tax preparer though. You’re almost there! Only a few more few steps to complete:
- (3 minutes) TAXSLAYER PRACTICE LAB SOFTWARE – Follow our screenshot guide to create an account in the TaxSlayer Practice Lab software. Note down your username and password. You may need software to prepare a sample tax return for the exam in the next step.
- (18-24 hours, depends on your level of experience) TAX LAW CERTIFICATION –
Some tax sites have in-person training (at the actual site or, more commonly, at a county-wide training). You will find out more about those options after registering for a site.
Alternatively, you can do self-study online by reading through and watching the training material on your own.
Go ahead and click on the “Advanced” tab when logged into Link and Learn – VITA/TCE Central and complete the Advanced Tax Law Certification exam! You can do it! Refer to these awesome training resources, as needed.
Did you pass? Woohoo! Congratulations! You are now certified to help out as a volunteer tax preparer!
- (3 minutes) EMAIL YOUR VOLUNTEER AGREEMENT TO YOUR SITE COORDINATOR – Once you pass your exams, electronically sign and download your Volunteer Agreement from Link and Learn – VITA/TCE Central and email them to your Site Coordinator(s).
STEP THREE: Volunteer at your site
Head to your tax site on your volunteer day and get ready for a busy shift!