The Internal Revenue Service is seeking community volunteers to provide free tax help to qualified individuals during the tax filing season.
Managed by the IRS, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs are community-based partnerships that provide free tax return preparation for low-to-moderate- income taxpayers, seniors, people with disabilities and those with limited English skills.
There are 10 things the IRS wants you to know about becoming a community volunteer for VITA or TCE.
1. No previous experience is required. Volunteers receive specialized training and -- if tax preparation is not preferable -- have the option of serving in a variety of other roles.
2. Volunteers fluent in a language other than English can help those who do not speak English understand their tax return.
3. IRS provides free tax law training and materials needed to prepare basic individual income tax returns.
4. Volunteers become familiar with deductions, allowable expenses and credits that benefit eligible taxpayers, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit and the Credit for the Elderly.
5. The hours are flexible. Volunteers generally serve an average of three to four hours per week from mid-January through the tax filing deadline, which is April 15.
6. Volunteer sites are generally located at community and neighborhood centers, libraries, schools, shopping malls and other convenient locations.
7. Most VITA/TCE sites offer free electronic filing for both federal and state tax returns.
8. As a tax volunteer, veterans (and nonveterans) may choose to help military personnel and their families.
9. Volunteers will become part of an established program that has helped community members file tax returns at no charge for more than four decades.
10. You can make a difference as a tax volunteer.
Last year, nearly 99,000 community volunteers prepared more than 3.3 million tax returns for free at more than 13,000 locations nationwide.
Additional information about becoming a VITA or TCE volunteer is available on IRS.gov by typing the key words "tax volunteer" in the search box. Those interested must submit Form 14310, VITA/TCE Volunteer Sign Up, by email through the IRS website.