Ongoing Volunteer Opportunities

VITA Training

This webpage mirrors the hard copy training materials provided by United Way. Please e-mails us at tax@yourunitedway.org if you would like to pick up a copy. Modules are provided by Prosperity Now Taxpayer Opportunity Network. Each module has a quiz to check your knowledge. Find the link within each tab.

Training Requirements & Resources

All volunteers must complete each certification test annually and all volunteers are required to complete the Volunteer Standards of Conduct (Ethics) training. Volunteers who answer tax law questions, prepare tax returns or quality review must also complete the Intake/Interview & Quality Review training and exam.

Volunteers can choose to become either a Basic or Advanced level tax preparer. It is strongly encouraged that volunteers certify at the advanced level. It is not necessary to complete the Basic exam before taking the Advanced exam.

These training modules and links have all the information you need to pass either certification. Some of the modules have a video conversation that adds to the module slide decks.

Step 1: Volunteer Standards of Conduct, Intake/Interview & Quality Review Training

All volunteers are required to complete the Volunteer Standards of Conduct course and exam. Volunteers who answer tax law questions, prepare tax returns or quality review must also complete the Intake/Interview & Quality Review training and exam.

Complete this module to understand the Volunteer Standards of Conduct, Intake/Interview and Quality Review Training.

Learn the volunteer standards of conduct and what it means to be a VITA volunteer. The video gives a national perspective of VITA services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Intake, Interview and QR: PDF Slides 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE

STEP 2: Tax Law Training

Complete these modules to understand basic tax law. To review more about Advanced tax Law, check out the Link & Learn Taxes e-learning page.

Preparing an accurate return requires appropriately determining a taxpayer’s filing status and dependents. Knowing who is on the return is a key step to claiming credits, deductions and more! 

Additional Resources:

Test Your Knowledge

Income comes in all shapes and sizes. From common wage-earners who bring in a W-2, to retirees with pensions, to gambling winnings and all points in between.  In this module, you’ll learn about the various ways in which tax filers can earn and present with income (including cash – which must be reported), and how and where to incorporate that income in the tax return.

TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE

Additional Resources

American taxpayers are not taxed on all the income they earn in a year.  Adjustments are a way to reduce a tax filers taxable income.  Here you’ll learn about various allowable adjustments to income to reduce taxable income.

Advanced Level volunteers will need to learn about Health Savings Accounts to pass their exams!

TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE

Deductions can be confusing, but they are a valuable part to understanding how taxable income can impact the client’s return. Follow through this short module to get the basics on Standard Deduction and Itemized Deductions!

TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE

Non-refundable credits help to reduce a taxpayer’s tax liability.  The value of these credits is deducted directly from the total tax liability.  If there is no tax liability, these credits cannot be applied to the return.  Learn about the various non-refundable credits, their value and how they are applied to the return.

Test Your Knowledge

Refundable credits have value, even if the tax liability is zero (0). Learn about the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), its impact on the return and other important information about the timing of refund distribution for returns that claim the EITC.

Test Your Knowledge

Sometimes going to school or going back to school can result in certain tax benefits. Learn how pursuing post-secondary education or taking classes or certifications for work can lead to credits such as the American Opportunity Credit or the Lifetime Learning Credit.

Test Your Knowledge

You have interviewed the taxpayer, checked their IDs and Social Security Cards, entered all of the data, and made sure the taxpayer claimed all the credits they were eligible for. You’ve almost completed your first VITA tax return. Now let’s talk about how to get all the way to the finish line!

Whether this is your 2nd or 20th season, this module will cover some of the new changes for the tax year 2022, especially with the implementation of the new tax credits such as the temporarily refundable Child Tax Credit.

To be updated as soon as extenders are announced.

Use the Practice Lab to complete these problems to help you get ready for the certification tests.

JOHN HAMMONDS

Forms
Intake
Solution

AARON ALEXANDER

Forms
Intake

Solution

JAMES GRANT

Forms
Intake

Solution

RICHARD ROOSEVELT

Forms
Intake

Solution

Step 3: VITA Certification Exams

Once you’ve completed the training, it’s time to take the certification exams. 

Each exam is open book/notes.  We encourage you to refer to the study guides provided above in the Important Training Resources section and the Publication 4012.  You have two chances to pass each test with an 80% or higher. 

Use the Link & Learn website to take the online exam after completing the online training and practice exercises.

Create a new account or login with your previous years’ login information. This account includes personal information needed to register as a VITA volunteer.

The certification exams consist of two parts:
  1. The first few scenarios do not require that you calculate a tax return. Read the interview notes for each scenario and use your resources to answers the questions.
  2. The last few scenarios require that you calculate a tax return. Use the Practice Lab to complete the tax return and answer the questions using the tax return you prepared.

Step 4: Volunteer Agreement

The Volunteer Standards of Conduct Agreement shows all of the certification exams that you have completed. Volunteers must sign and date their Volunteer Agreement to certify their adherence of the VITA Program Requirements. You can do this electronically in your Link & Learn account. Click here for instructions.

Please e-mail the signed Volunteer Agreement and a copy of your government-issued ID to us at tax@yourunitedway.org to receive instructions on how to sign-up for volunteer shifts at one of our tax sites.  Questions?  Please reach out to us at the same e-mail.