January 9, 2017

Training resources

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 PDF – 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 online training tax lessons, homework, and practice

  1. Income
  2. Dependents
  3. Filing status
  4. Exemptions
  5. Standard deduction
  6. Education credits
  7. Earned Income Tax Credit


Foreign Student Certification

Visit our Foreign Student Certification – Training Material webpage.


CA State Tax Information

View the Slide Deck from 2018.01.27 – CA FTB Training (taught by Mark Callahan, CA FTB Statewide Volunteer Program Coordinator).

Important points:

  • 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:


Additional resources

  • 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
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