If you’re looking for a way to help others in your community, then think about becoming a tax volunteer. The IRS is looking for people who will provide free tax help next year.
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs offer free tax help across the country. Each year VITA and TCE volunteers prepare tax returns for free for people with low-to-moderate incomes.
Here are seven good reasons why you should become a VITA or TCE volunteer.
1. You don’t need prior experience. You’ll receive specialized training and can serve in a variety of roles. You can even help those who do not speak English if you are fluent in another language.
2. The IRS provides 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. The 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 located in communities throughout the nation. Sites are often set up in neighborhood centers, libraries, schools, shopping malls and other similar places. The programs offer free tax preparation and free electronic filing for both federal and state tax returns.
5. You can also help those who serve our country, because the IRS also needs volunteers to provide tax help to military personnel and their families.
6. 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.
7. Tax Professionals (Enrolled Agents and Other Tax Return Preparers) can earn Continuing Education 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.
To find out more, visit IRS.gov and type “tax volunteer” in the search box. If you are interested you will need to submit Form 14310, VITA/TCE Volunteer Sign Up, by email through the IRS website.