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Volunteering with VITA

 

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What is VITA?

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA) is an IRS program implemented across the county by United Way of Denton County. VITA offers free tax preparation to people who generally earn up to (not over) $58,000. For the 2020 Tax Season, low and moderate-income families need your help to get their federal tax refund without paying unnecessary predatory tax service fees.

Through VITA, dedicated volunteers just like you help local families in need by putting the single largest sum of money they will see in the year in their pocket. By e-filing their return for free, each family also saves $300 to $1,000 (or more!) that is charged by predatory retail preparers, money a family in need could certainly use to improve and transform their own lives!

Who qualifies to volunteer?

Very nearly anyone! Our volunteers come from all walks of life, from professionals looking to pay it forward, to accounting students trying to decide between Tax and Audit, to retirees using VITA to keep their minds sharp and their days busy!

What does it take to volunteer?

To volunteer to help families in need, you'll have to pass a background check, then commit to:

  • 4 hours of Orientation and Intake training
  • 8 to 12 hours of Tax Law training
  • 3 hours each week for the 12 weeks of Tax Season

That’s it! In the span of 50 hours, you personally can help dozens of low to moderate-income families fulfill their federal tax obligation, get back the refund they are due, and infuse their lives with the cash to make their dreams come true!

What has the VITA Program done?

In 2019,

  • United Way of Denton County volunteers prepared 1,497 returns for Denton County taxpayers. Another 109 taxpayers filed using MyFreeTaxes bringing our total returns filed to 1,606 returns!
  • Through VITA and MyFreeTaxes, we returned $2,146,603 in refunds to Denton County taxpayers while saving them an estimated $435,226 in filing fees.
  • 40 Volunteer Tax Preparers spent 1,867 hours preparing taxes for Denton County taxpayers
  • Another 59 volunteers contributed 560 hours as Intake Volunteers and Volunteer Translators, helping taxpayers from start to finish at our sites

For two consecutive years, volunteers have returned $2 million into the pockets of our community - a fantastic accomplishment, but we want to do more! The IRS estimates that well over $15 million in unclaimed refunds are left on the table by Denton County taxpayers every year. We need your help to bring that money back to households who need it most!

How can you help? Three roles for our volunteers:

Tax Preparer:

After 12 to 16-hours of very accessible, yet thorough training, Volunteer Tax Preparers complete an IRS certification test and work directly with households who earn up to $58,000 to file their tax returns. At the end of the day, your hard work will be more than paid off in both the economic impact you have on local families and the joy of taxpayers getting the refund they are due.

Intake Volunteer:

As the first person a taxpayer encounters, you help ease taxpayers through the process of completing their return and are the first line in catching barriers to a finished tax return. Through your hard work, we can save the time of taxpayers and tax preparers alike by ensuring every taxpayer has all the documents and answers they need to finish their tax return quickly and free of stress.

Intake & Translation Volunteer:

A taxpayer can't provide the information we need to prepare their return if a language barrier gets in the way. In addition to Intake duties, multilingual translators can engage taxpayers during any and all steps of the process to help our tax preparers provide people with accurate returns, the maximum legal refund, and the high-quality service taxpayers have come to expect from VITA in Denton County.

Helpful Links:

Websites:

IRS website
IRS Information about Affordable Care Act Tax Provisions
Link and Learn Certification System

IRS Online, Self-paced Curriculum
TaxSlayer Online Practice Lab

IRS Publications:

Pub. 17 - Your Federal Income Tax for Individuals
Pub. 502 - Medical and Dental Expenses
Pub. 970 - Tax Benefits for Education
Pub. 4011 - Foreign Student and Scholar Resource Guide
Pub. 4012 - Volunteer Resource Guide
Pub. 4491 - Volunteer Training Guide
Pub. 4491w - Practice Problems and Exercises
Pub. 4961 - Volunteer Standards of Conduct Ethics Training
Pub. 5101 - Intake / Interview and Quality Review Training
Pub. 6744 - Volunteer Test / Re-Test
Form 8962 Instructions - Premium Tax Credit

 

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