Become a Tax Volunteer and Make a Difference in Your CommunityIRS Summertime Tax Tip 2015-22, August 21, 2015
If you ever wonder how to make a difference and help people in your community, then becoming a tax volunteer may be just right for you. The IRS is looking for people who will provide free tax help in 2016. You will receive all the tax training you need so you can help others file their tax return.
The IRS sponsors two programs that offer free tax help across the country. These are the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs. Many people know them by their initials. In 2015, VITA and TCE volunteers prepared more than 3.7 million tax returns at no cost for people with low-to-moderate incomes.
Here are five good reasons why you should become a VITA or TCE volunteer.
1. No prior experience needed. You’ll receive specialized training and can serve in a variety of roles. If you are fluent in another language, you may be able to help those who speak that language.
2. Free tax law training and materials. You’ll learn how to prepare basic tax returns and learn about tax deductions and credits that benefit eligible taxpayers. These include credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit and Credit for the Elderly.
3. Volunteer hours are flexible. Volunteers generally serve an average of three to five hours per week. The programs are usually open from mid-January through the tax filing deadline in April. A few sites are open all year.
4. VITA and TCE sites are often nearby. More than 12,000 sites were set up in neighborhoods all over the country this year. They are often set up in community centers, libraries, schools, shopping malls and similar places. Chances are good that you can volunteer at a site near you.
5. Continuing education credits for tax pros. Enrolled Agents and non-credentialed tax return preparers can earn credits when volunteering as a VITA/TCE instructor, quality reviewer or tax return preparer. See the IRS fact sheet for more information on Continuing Education Credits.
As a volunteer, you’ll join a program that’s helped millions of people file tax returns at no charge for more than 40 years. Your help will make a difference. It’s people helping people. It's that simple.
To find out more, visit IRS.gov and type "tax volunteer" in the search box. If you’d like to become a volunteer, you will need to submit your volunteer interest information on IRS.gov at IRS Tax Volunteers.