Volunteer for VITA

We Need You

Join our team of more than 80 volunteers that completed 923 state and federal returns last year, refunding $1.3 million into the hands of those that need it most to pay back rent, make car repairs, save for the future and bolster the local economy.

Sold already? Sign-up now. Otherwise, keep reading!

What is VITA?

VITA stands for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance. We provide free tax preparation to low-income individuals and families, allowing them to receive the maximum refund possible, to meet their own pressing basic needs or save for the future. Support and training is provided by our knowledgeable employees, 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.

Volunteers can serve as Greeters or Tax Preparers and are asked to commit to: training in January; completion of certification tests; and a minimum of three 3.5 hour shifts from February through early April. (Take this fun quiz to find out which role is right for you!)

Why Volunteer?

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! Learn new or existing skills; 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 using easy-to-use software. Knowledgeable volunteers are always on hand to help if you have questions. All returns are quality reviewed for accuracy. 


How do I get involved?

1. Sign-up here to be added to our volunteer email list to receive future communications about the program. (You can opt-out in the future.)  Contact us at vita@uwwashtenaw.org anytime if you have specific questions!

2. Register here for In-Person Training One three-hour training session is required for new volunteers and optional for returning volunteers. Drop-In Sessions open for test help!

Required Session Dates 
Thu, Jan 10, 5-8pm
Sat, Jan 12, 9-noon
Thu, Jan 17, 5-8pm
Sat, Jan 19, 9-noon
Thu, Jan 24, 5-8pm
Sat, Jan 26, 9-noon
Click here to register for training (Space is limited at each session)

3. Complete Certification: Set aside time after training in January to self-study and complete certification tests. Attend an optional Drop-In Test Help Session, if desired.  Click here for more information about certification steps.

Drop-In Test Help/Work Session Dates:
Sat, Jan 12, 12:30-3:30pm
Tue, Jan 15, 5-8pm
Sat, Jan 19, 12:30-3:30pm
Sat, Jan 26, 12:30-3:30pm
Tue, Jan 29, 5-8pm
Registration not required for Drop-In Sessions; Bringing your own laptop is recommended.


Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Tax Clinic hours? For 2019, they are some Tuesdays, 5-8pm; every Thursday, 5-8pm; and every Saturday, 10am-4pm, with 3-4 hour shifts as typical; Additional volunteer shifts during regular business hours may be available.

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

When is training and how long does it last? New volunteers are required to attend one in-person training session (3 hours in length) and are strongly encouraged to attend the drop-in test prep sessions to work through the required test and make time for self-study and test taking outside of our sessions.  Returning volunteers and individuals with previous tax return prep experience are not required to attend training, but are welcome.  

Required Session Dates 
Thu, Jan 10, 5-8pm
Sat, Jan 12, 9-noon
Thu, Jan 17, 5-8pm
Sat, Jan 19, 9-noon
Thu, Jan 24, 5-8pm
Sat, Jan 26, 9-noon
Click here to register for training (Space is limited at each session)

Drop-In Test Help/Work Session Dates:
Sat, Jan 12, 12:30-3:30pm
Tue, Jan 14, 5-8pm
Sat, Jan 19, 12:30-3:30pm
Sat, Jan 26, 12:30-3:30pm
Tue, Jan 29, 5-8pm
Registration not required for Drop-In Sessions

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. However should a mistake happen you are protected by the IRS-VITA program and cannot be held at fault for errors.

How often can I volunteer? Volunteer as often as you like, we do ask that volunteers commit to three VITA clinic sessions (approximately 9-12 hours in total). But most volunteers enjoy doing the work and volunteer more.

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.

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