Financial Stability Network


Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Clinic - Tax Return Preparation Volunteer

Tax Return Preparation Volunteer

 

Catholic Charities manages an IRS-sponsored Voluntary Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site. The site provides tax return preparation (at no cost) for low- and moderate-income families from February 1 through April 15. 

Volunteer Tax Return Preparation Volunteers 1.) provide high-quality tax assistance to individuals and families in need; 2.) maximize tax benefits (filing status, child credits, child care credits, earned income credits, Economic Impact Payments, etc.) to which the taxpayer is entitled under the law; and 3.) enable these taxpayers to avoid being taken advantage of by unscrupulous “storefront” preparers who charge high fees and structure refund anticipation loans that further siphon off the benefit of the refunds due to the taxpayer.

Volunteers don't need to be tax experts! If you are comfortable using TurboTax, you will be able to serve as a volunteer.

Tax Return Preparation Volunteers will be responsible for:

  • Ensuring taxpayers have all necessary forms
  • Communicating with taxpayers when there is any missing information 
  • Preparing federal and state tax returns using IRS cloud-based software 
  • Communicating with a VITA Quality Reviewer if there are any questions about the return 
  • Reviewing tax returns and documents for accuracy with the taxpayer before it is electronically submitted to the IRS 

Desired Skills, Experience, and Characteristics:

  • Spanish-speaking volunteers
  • Comfortable using TurboTax - VITA will provide additional training to volunteer preparers
  • Interest and passion for teaching
  • Patience and compassion

Qualifications:

  • Tax return preparers need to pass an online IRS competency exam. 
  • All in-person volunteers must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19
  • The Catholic Charities VITA site provides training sessions on the key areas of tax law needed to take the IRS exam and provides computer lab training on the use of the IRS cloud-based tax software used in the return process.

Volunteer Benefits:

  • Make a positive difference in the economic lives of the taxpayers they serve
  • The taxpayers who participate in the Catholic Charities VITA program are always appreciative of the time and energy of volunteers 

Support:

  • Volunteers are supported by prior Catholic Charities staff, senior volunteers in the program, and professionals from the Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law who provide training and administrative resources

Time Commitment:

  • Tax preparation volunteers will need to attend virtual or in-person training sessions (12 hours in total) in January and take the IRS exam. 
  • The Catholic Charities VITA site is open from February 1 – April 15. Volunteers are asked to complete twelve tax returns during this time frame.

Location: Volunteers can serve at one of two locations:

Next Steps:

  • Due December 20: Fill out an application  - volunteers are encouraged to apply early
  • December: Hear from staff about training schedule for January
  • January: Attend trainings for VITA clinic
  • February 1: Begin volunteering!