Hello, and welcome back to all of our experienced volunteers! You are rockstars! Enough said.
Here’s what you have to do to 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. If you were a tax volunteer last year and certified online, simply use that same login information. If not, 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? High-five! You’re almost there! Only a few more few steps to complete:
- (3 minutes) TAXSLAYER PRACTICE LAB SOFTWARE – Use your login information from last year or follow our screenshot guide to create an account in the TaxSlayer Practice Lab software. Note down your username and password. You will likely need TaxSlayer Practice Lab to prepare a sample tax return for the exam in the next step.
- (2-10 hours, depends on your level of experience) TAX LAW CERTIFICATION –
It usually takes a returning volunteer less time to complete the certification process (compared to the time it takes for a new volunteer). You know the drill! Some tax sites have in-person refresher 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.
The majority of our volunteers who are experienced volunteers go straight to the exam.
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).
- (OPTIONAL) COMPLETE SPECIALTY CERTIFICATIONS – Contact your Site Coordinator to ask if it would be helpful to complete any of the specialty certifications. Some sites see taxpayers that require Health Savings Account certification, Foreign Student certification, International certification, or Military certification. View our awesome training resources for more about those tests. You can access these exams when logged into Link and Learn – VITA/TCE Central.
STEP THREE: Volunteer at your site
Head to your tax site on your volunteer day and get ready for a busy shift!