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.

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: attendance at two training sessions in January; completion of certification tests; and a minimum of 3 four-hour shifts from February through early April. (Take this fun quiz to find out which role is right for you!)

Why Volunteer?

"But, 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. Anyone can help! 

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

  • Develop/refine 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 resume experience and network with others 

How do I get involved?

1. Sign-up here to be added to our volunteer list.  Contact us at vita@uwwashtenaw.org anytime if you have specific questions!

2. Register for Training!

Tax Preparers: Register for two training sessions in January (dates TBD): 1) Tax Law & Ethics and 2) State Returns & Software Training

Greeters: Register for one Greeter training (dates TBD)

3. Set aside time after training in January to self-study and complete certification tests.

Frequently Asked Questions

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? Training is held during the month of January, we ask individuals who are new to VITA to attend one Thursday night and one Saturday session. However, we have flexible options for returning volunteers, individuals with return prep experience and those who cannot attend the training.

Training Dates TBD: New volunteers must register for two training sessions, one Thursday session and one Saturday session, ideally within the same week. 

Is the tax software difficult to use? 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 sessions (about 12 hours). 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.