VITA is an IRS-based volunteering program that provides students, teachers, and professionals the opportunity to gain hands-on experience preparing federal and state tax returns for economically disadvantaged people in the local community. Benefits include IRS training and certification, resume building and networking while providing a service to the community. Orange County United Way works with the IRS and over 30 community-based organizations in providing this service.
- Greeter/Screener: Welcomes taxpayers and ensures that their necessary documents are correct and forms are complete. Determines the type of assistance taxpayer needs.
- Interpreter: Aids taxpayers and tax preparers overcome language differences. Spanish, Vietnamese, Mandarin and Farsi languages are always in great need.
- Tax Preparer: Prepares electronic federal and state tax returns for taxpayers. Upon completion of the tax preparation process, reviews federal and state tax returns for accuracy.
- Quality Reviewer: Upon completion of the tax preparation process, reviews federal and state tax returns for accuracy and discusses results with taxpayer and volunteer preparer.
- Tax Guide: Assists taxpayers who are self-preparing tax returns on MyFreeTaxes.com at one of our sites.
All volunteers are required to complete and pass the online Volunteer Standards of Conduct Training and Exam. Volunteer Tax Preparers, Quality Reviewers and Tax Guides are also required to complete the Basic and/or Advanced Certification Exam. Exams are completed online through VITA Central at:www.linklearncertification.com, are multiple choice, and open book. While all training is self-paced and can be completed online, Orange County United Way provides several in-person trainings at various locations beginning in October. No previous experience is necessary.
Orange County United Way provides all the necessary materials and places volunteers (based on their respective preferences) with local partnering organizations during the tax season. There are multiple sites and scheduling options including evenings and Saturdays.