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HOW TO VOLUNTEER AS A TAX PREPARER

To become a tax preparer, volunteers need to successfully certify in tax law, including the use of electronic filing software and attend an orientation to provide free tax return preparation for eligible taxpayers. Follow the below steps to certify as a tax preparer.

 

STEP 1: Fill out the VITA Volunteer Interest Form.

 

STEP 2: Register for the in-person IRS/UWS Orientation

The orientation session will provide a better understanding of the expectations established by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and United Way Suncoast (UWS) as we serve our neighbors and communities.

Click here to view the dates and register.

 

STEP 3: Access Training Materials

Electronic versions of materials can be accessed through the following links:

 

STEP 4: Create VITA/TCE Certification Test Site and TaxSlayer Practice Lab Logins

The VITA/TCE Certification Test Site (Link and Learn) is separate from the TaxSlayer Practice Lab; you will need access to both accounts.

VITA/TCE Certification Test Site

  • Create or login to your account at Link and Learn.
  • Tax Preparers must complete three exams (see training info below):
    • Volunteer Standards of Conduct Exam
    • Intake/Interview and Quality Review Exam
    • Advanced Exam
  • Once all exams have been completed, print the Volunteer Agreement Form 13615. View the Link and Learn guide above for instructions on where to locate the agreement.
  • Volunteers must print several copies of the volunteer agreement form, as they will be required to bring it to each site.

TaxSlayer Practice Lab

The Practice Lab provides a simulated VITA/TCE learning environment in the TaxSlayer Pro Online software, includes learning tools and TaxSlayer support, and is required to certify.

  • Login to TaxSlayer.
  • To gain access to the account, use the generic password: TRAINPROWEB.

 

STEP 5: Certification Training Sessions

Experienced tax preparers who have volunteered with VITA previously may complete the certification exams independently using Link and Learn instead of registering for a session.

  • Once all exams have been completed, print the Volunteer Agreement Form 13615. View the Link and Learn guide above for instructions on where to locate the agreement.
  • Volunteers will need to print several copies of the volunteer agreement form, as they will be required to bring to each site.

New tax preparers will need to register for the in-person or virtual Certification Training Sessions.

Volunteers will achieve up to three (3) VITA certifications by passing proctored exams, including the Volunteer Standards of Conduct, Intake/Interview/Quality Review, and Advanced Scenario. The sessions will:

  • Create comfort and confidence for volunteers to serve through the VITA program and sites.
  • Create comfort and confidence in navigating TaxSlayer as a technology platform for completing taxpayer returns.
  • Embrace that VITA site operations are executed most effectively when VITA volunteers serve in collaboration with their peer volunteers, Site Coordinators, and VITA program leadership as a team.
  • Elevate virtual professional skills for VITA volunteers in preparation for the possibility of virtual synchronous and asynchronous VITA service for the 2022-2023 tax season.
  • Once all exams have been completed, print the Volunteer Agreement Form 13615. View the Link and Learn guide above for instructions on where to locate the agreement.
  • Volunteers will need to print several copies of the volunteer agreement form, as they will be required to bring to each site.

Click here to view the in-person training session dates.

Virtual training: click here and select United Way Suncoast as the organization when prompted.

 

STEP 6: Sign up for VITA Opportunities

Links to view shifts in each county will be added once the schedule is finalized, please check back. 

 

NEW TO VITA?

Join one of our Optional Learning Labs led by an IRS professional who can help answer your questions. This open forum is for volunteers to ask the IRS any questions and/or concerns relating to VITA. 

 

For questions on volunteering, email vita@uwsuncoast.org.