Volunteer to prepare taxes with VITA

Published: January 19th, 2010

Category: News, Students

It is not too late to volunteer for VITA. Just add “VITA” on the TWEN site. The VITA Program offers free tax help to low to moderate-income people who cannot prepare their own tax returns. Certified volunteers (UF Law students) sponsored by the Association for Tax Law and the Levin College of Law receive training to help prepare basic tax returns in Gainesville.

In order to be a volunteer, you must pass two unlimited time, open book tests that demonstrate knowledge of basic tax principles (basic and intermediate). Most volunteers have no prior tax or accounting experience. The returns that will be handled are usually not very complex in nature and there are experienced reviewers who will be available at all times to help answer questions and review the tax returns.

This is also an excellent opportunity to earn pro bono hours toward your Pro Bono Certificate. In addition, it gives the volunteers an understanding of how our tax system works and valuable interaction with VITA clients.

VITA Volunteer Training Details
In addition to preparing tax returns, we will also assist eligible clients get qualified for public benefits. The Benefit Bank training for VITA volunteers is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 18, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at Gerson Hall (UF Fisher School of Accounting) Room 122. VITA training for Site Coordinators is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 19, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at Gerson Hall (UF Fisher School of Accounting) Room 122.

The kick-off meeting and initial tax preparation training session by the IRS is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 20, from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in the Reitz Union, room 282. You will need to bring your laptop, power cord, pen / pencil and paper. If you do not have a laptop or UF internet connection please let us know by return e-mail.

Classroom training will continue Thursday, Jan. 21, from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Friday, Jan. 22, from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.; and Saturday, Jan. 23, from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Much of Saturday is devoted to IRS certification at the basic, intermediate and advanced levels. You must certify at the intermediate level to prepare tax returns. Those certifying at the basic level only can help in other important ways. You will receive a certificate for each level you pass.

The class will be split into two training groups during the kick-off session. Group one will meet in room 284 on Thursday and room 349 on Friday and Saturday in the Reitz Union. Group two will meet in room 285 on Thursday and rooms 361-363 on Friday and Saturday in the Reitz Union.

Tax preparation begins Feb. 2, and ends April 8 (excluding Spring Break). VITA hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Volunteers are only asked to select one day, but are free to volunteer additional days if they so choose. Dinner is provided to volunteers each night. For more information please contact Kimberly Thomas at kim.s.thomas@ufl.edu.