Those looking for a way to help their community should consider becoming a tax volunteer. The IRS is looking for volunteers now who will provide free tax help next year.
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly are community-based programs. They provide free tax return preparation for people who need tax help but can’t afford it. People with low-to-moderate incomes, seniors, people with disabilities and those with limited English skills usually qualify for this free service.
Here are six reasons to become a VITA or TCE volunteer.
1. No previous experience is required. Volunteers receive specialized training and have the option of serving in a variety of roles. Those who are fluent in a language other than English can help those who do not speak English.
2. IRS provides free tax law training and materials that allow volunteers to prepare basic individual income tax returns. Volunteers learn many aspects of tax return preparation. This includes tax deductions and credits that benefit eligible taxpayers, like the Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit and Credit for the Elderly.
3. The hours are flexible. Volunteers generally serve an average of three to five hours per week. Volunteer programs are open from mid-January through the tax filing deadline, which will be April 15, 2014.
4. Volunteer sites are located in communities throughout the nation. They can be found in neighborhood centers, libraries, schools, shopping malls and other convenient locations. VITA and TCE sites offer free electronic filing for both federal and state tax returns.
5. Veteran and non-veteran volunteers may be able to help military personnel and their families.
6. As a volunteer, they become part of a program that has helped people file tax returns at no charge for more than four decades.
Additional information about becoming a VITA or TCE volunteer is available on IRS.gov. Type the key words “tax volunteer” in the search box. Those interested need to submit Form 14310, VITA/TCE Volunteer Sign Up, by email through the IRS website.