Volunteer for VITA

We Need You"A volunteer assists a client"

Join our community of over 80 volunteers in working to complete federal and state tax returns for low to moderate income families. Volunteer to help clients save tens of thousands in costly tax preparation fess and put over $1.4 million of refunds into the hands of those that need it most. Resources that can be used to pay overdue bills, make car repairs, save for the future, and bolster the local economy.

No experience? No problem! Our comprehensive training process will give you the skills and knowledge necessary to prepare basic tax returns.

Additionally, with our new virtual platform, you choose when and where to volunteer.

Sold already? 

Sign-up here. 

Still have questions? We recommend interested volunteers join a virtual orientation session. To register, please contact Nick Miller at n.miller@uwscmi.org. Alternatively, you can read on!

What is VITA?

VITA stands for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance. We provide free tax preparation to low to moderate income households making less than $60,000 per year. A great deal of our capacity is provided by our dedicated volunteers with support and training provided by our knowledgeable employees, experienced volunteers, and the IRS. 

VITA ensures that clients get the maximum refund back without having to pay expensive tax prep fees or be subject to predatory refund-anticipation loans.

VITA volunteers are up to the challenge of learning the ins and outs of tax preparation, enjoy puzzling out tax problems collaboratively, and work hard to support our clients in tax filing.

Volunteers can serve as Intake SpecialistsTax Preparers, or Quality Reviewers (for returning volunteers only) and are asked to commit to:

  • Participation in virtual training, offered starting in November with 3-5 total hours of content for intake specialists and 15-20 for tax preparers
    • Set your own pace and support is readily available
  • Completion of an IRS certification exam
    • Support is provided by our experienced staff and volunteers
  • A minimum of 4 hours per week from February until April 15th.
    • With flexible, virtual opportunities available, you choose when and where to volunteer

Why Volunteer?

Click here to view our 2022 infographic!

People love volunteering for VITA because they can:

  • Help families stay in their homes, put food on the table, and save for the future

  • Engage in gratifying volunteer work – interact directly with the people you are helping and see the immediate impact of your work

  • Take on a new challenge! Becoming tax certified is a great mental challenge for those who want to learn something new; gain valuable experience in preparing income tax returns and encountering various tax issues.

  • Develop/refine client counseling skills in a protected environment

  • Gain leadership skills, resume experience and network with others 

  • Earn CEU for professional certifications

"What if I'm not a finance/numbers person." It's okay! Training and reference materials are provided, taxes are prepared with easy-to-use software, knowledgeable volunteers and staff are always on hand to help if you have questions, and all returns are quality reviewed for accuracy. 

How do I get involved?

1. Sign-up here to be added to our volunteer email list.(You can opt-out at any time.)  Contact n.miller@uwscmi.org anytime with specific questions. 

2. Participate in Training: Training will be offered virtually beginning in early to mid November. More information will be posted here and sent out as it becomes available. Content will be offered on a rolling basis so you can start anytime. However, we ask most volunteers to complete certification by the last week of January.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need prior experience preparing taxes? No, United Way will provide all training to become an IRS certified tax preparer.

What kind of training is required? For new tax preparer volunteers, approximately 15-20 hours of virtual training. For new intake specialist volunteers, approximately 3-5 hours of in-person training is required. We will begin offering training in November of 2022, with content being released through January. All materials can be accessed online.

Is the tax software difficult to use? No; It is similar to Turbo Tax and we will provide training on how to use the software.

What if I make a mistake on someone's tax return? VITA uses a two step quality review process to ensure that all returns are error free. A highly experienced Quality Review Volunteer reviews each tax return for accuracy. However, should a mistake happen you are protected by the IRS-VITA program and cannot be held at fault for  unintentional errors.

How often will I volunteer? Volunteer as often as you like, we do ask that volunteers commit to an average four hours per week for the 10 weeks of tax season. When volunteering in-person, you get to choose your shifts, and we have a good deal of flexibility.

Can I get continuing education credits? Yes, VITA allows CPA, enrolled/non-enrolled agents and lawyers the opportunity to receive up to 18 continuing education credits.