VITA offers free tax assistance to individuals who meet certain qualifications. Volunteers help prepare basic income tax returns for low-income taxpayers or those with special needs such as the elderly, non-English speaking persons, and persons with disabilities. Although training materials, forms, and technical assistance are provided by the Internal Revenue Service, ABA VITA programs, consisting of law students interested in reaching-out to their communities, are independent operations managed and operated by student groups under the direction of a law school faculty member and/or their administration. Volunteers at law school campuses are not agents of the IRS, but rather law students and law school faculty interested in helping the community and gaining valuable experience in tax preparation. All VITA volunteers, regardless of the background, provide this unpaid service in their spare time.
ABA Law Student Division groups at law school campuses are encouraged to establish a VITA site on their campus. To get your school's VITA site started, we have provided a convenient VITA Handbook for you to download.
Contact the IRS for training materials, forms and technical assistance prior to and during the 2012 tax season. The IRS can provide VITA training for law students, alumni, professors and other volunteers with no tax preparation experience or even those with experience. The training consists of learning how to prepare the following schedules:
The predominant focus for tax preparation will be the 1040EZ & the 1040A returns, since these are the forms predominantly used by the typical VITA clientele.
Additionally, training will be provided on calculating and preparing the following forms:
It is very common that many of the tax returns prepared will be those of your fellow students, their family members, undergraduate students of affiliated campuses or persons referred to the VITA site by a student.
Keep in mind that VITA works best when it is mapped out in the fall semester and executed accordingly in the spring.
Taxwise Training: Click Here
Electronic filing: This is the preferred method of filing for the IRS. Training is generally completed in one 6 to 8 hour session. It is also possible to have a few representatives from the school, typically the student director and supervisors, attend a training session with the IRS. Those who attend the IRS training may then train the remaining 10 volunteers. This option makes it easier to arrange training sessions around class schedules.
TaxWise (software) Training: Contact your Territory Manager to find out about local requirements. If you have used TaxWise software before, a refresher course should take less than 2 hours.