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VITA Training

Training for VITA Volunteers

First-Time Tax Preparer Training

This training is best-suited for first-time VITA tax preparers and returning tax preparers who would like an in-depth review of tax law and the TaxSlayer software. You should be present for each session to be best-prepared for the IRS certification exam. All first-time tax preparers should register for all of these sessions.


Returning Tax Preparer Training

If you are a returning tax preparer, we require our refresher training to review tax law updates and receive training on the software that will be relevant to you as you help taxpayers this season.


Special Tax Topics Trainings

Special tax topics trainings provide VITA volunteers with a deeper dive into unique tax situations they will likely encounter in the field.


Quality Reviewer Training

This training is for new and returning quality reviewers as well as any tax preparers interested in learning about the quality review process.


Site Coordinator Training

This training is for new and returning site coordinators as well as any tax preparers interested in learning about the site coordination process.


Team Support Specialist Training

This training is for anyone interested in serving as a Team Support Specialist.


Other Trainings


Additional Training Materials from Code for America 

General Volunteer Resources

*VITA Volunteer Handbook 2021 (Tax Year 2020) – Handy information about how to log into various sites, troubleshooting tips, and additional programs such as the CFR card to support taxpayers. This is a Word document so you can download your own copy and add notes.

*Taxpayer Interview Guide: Tax Year 2020 – script for tax preparers to follow as they conduct interview calls with taxpayers; this is a Word document that you will fill out as you go. Tax Preparers will upload completed copies to the Hub for Quality Reviewers to reference in their work. (updated 2.11.21)

*Arizona Quick Reference Guide for Income Tax Returns – for VITA and TCE volunteers, updated for tax year 2020

*Guide to Other States: Tax Year 2020 – A guide developed by volunteer Bill Couchman.

*California State Tax Guide – A guide developed by United Way Bay Area. 

*Getting Started: Login Tips – pointers to keep in mind when signing up and accessing the Hub, TaxSlayer Pro Online, and Microsoft Teams

*Microsoft Teams sign into Microsoft Teams here

*The Hub – once your invite is accepted and username created, use this site to log into the GetYourRefund Hub

*Taxslayer Pro Online – once you have received an activation email from UWTSA and created a username, sign into TaxSlayer here

Hub Communication Messages – Examples of phrasing to use when messaging taxpayers through the Hub.

Training Resources

Training Materials – Find slides, recordings, and homework assignments from previous training sessions on this page.

TaxSlayer Practice Lab – Useful for practice in preparing sample returns and inputting data from various tax forms; use TRAINPROWEB password for landing page, then create or log in to your individual account. For assistance, contact Shea Julian.

*Link & Learn Certification Portal – This is the IRS-provided certification exam portal. Create your account or log in when you’re ready to submit answers for any of your VITA Volunteer Certification Exams.

IRS Publication 4012 – The primary on-site consultation guide for VITA volunteers; includes interview tips, decision trees, instructions for data entry in TaxSlayer and more. We refer to this publication often during trainings.

  • *IRS Publication 4491-X: The IRS released this training supplement for 2020 tax returns in early February 2020. It includes edits and corrections to the 4012 based on recent tax law changes. (*added 2/2/21)

IRS Publication 6744 – For those planning to certify as VITA volunteers at any level, the exam questions and scenarios are found in this booklet. This is an electronic version of the scenarios we will use in trainings and for homework.

United Way’s Quick Help Guide – there are certain hurdles in the certification process that are commonly encountered; we put them together with guidance for navigating them hoping this will save you some steps and frustration in this annual process!

IRS Publication 4491 – IRS-provided textbook for learning tax law and the basics of return preparation

Prosperity Now VITA Training – video modules on various tax topics for a deeper dive on something you covered in training, self-study, or certification test prep.

 

For Tax Preparation 

*Taxpayer Interview Guide: Tax Year 2020 – script for tax preparers to follow as they conduct interview calls with taxpayers; this is a Word document that you will fill out as you go. Tax Preparers will upload completed copies to the Hub for Quality Reviewers to reference in their work. (updated 2.11.21)

Dependent Qualification Calculator – helps determine whether an individual can be claimed as a dependent, as well as the credits for which they may qualify.

Education Credit Calculator – helps determine whether an individual is eligible for an Education Credit, and which credit would be most beneficial.

Pension & Annuity Calculator – helps determine exclusions.

Affordable Healthcare Enrollment Assistance – local assisters are available to help taxpayers explore their options and enroll in healthcare coverage. Use the link to help the taxpayer schedule an appointment.

IRS Publication 5307 – an explanation of the latest round of tax reform legislation and its impacts on individuals and families.

IRS Publication 17 – general rules for filing income tax returns. 

*Guides to Other States: Tax Year 2020 – A guide developed by volunteer Bill Couchman.

Qualifying Charitable Organizations for AZ Tax Credit – a list of all qualifying charitable organizations in Arizona. AS OF TY ’18: organization codes are needed to claim credit. Look for codes in the list of QCOs; look at footnote on the last page for the general code for umbrella organizations and funds.

Qualifying Foster Care Charitable Organizations for AZ Tax Credit – a list of all qualifying foster care charitable organizations in Arizona. 

Arizona Form 201 – completed by a landlord/property manager to provide information necessary for taxpayers to claim AZ PTC.

Property Locator – used to find the property ID needed for AZ PTC for an owned home.

IRS Publication 1084: Site Coordinator Handbook for Site Coordinators 

*Arizona Individual Income Tax Changes and Common Subtractions and Credits – updated for tax year 2020