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Volunteer Frequently Asked Questions

Q:What kind of training is required to be a Volunteer Tax Preparer?

A: It depends on your level of experience. Please read below to learn about our different training requirements. Go to our Volunteer Management and Event Signup page for a complete list of training dates and locations.

New volunteers must attend two full days of training (6 hours each day), where they will be oriented to the Campaign and learn basic tax law as well as get trained on using TaxWise, the tax preparation software provided by the IRS. After this training, volunteers will be eligible to take the IRS's certification exam either on their own or at one of our Testing and Certification sessions (The test is available at https://www.linklearncertification.com/). After passing the exam with a score of 80% or above, they will be certified to prepare taxes for the entire season at their choice of twenty five tax sites.

Returning volunteers must also pass the IRS's certification exam, but do not have to attend a full training. Returning volunteers can opt to only attend a Basic Part Two tax training, where they will be given an opportunity to take the certification test and obtain any tax law updates being covered in the Basic tax training. Returning volunteers can also opt to not attend any classroom training and take the test on their own by going to https://www.linklearncertification.com/. As a reminder, all tax preparers must register on our Volunteer Management and Event Signup page.

Volunteers with prior tax law training or education may also qualify to skip the full tax preparation training, but are required to attend a refresher session and pass the IRS's Certification Test. If you have not previously volunteered at one of our tax sites but feel that you have an adequate knowledge of tax law, please contact Kim Bomba at kim.bomba.jcs@cityofboston.gov to find out what options are available to you.

All volunteers should check here to view the most current Training Schedule with times and locations. Note: All volunteers must register on our Volunteer Hub in order to view and sign up for trainings.

Q: What kind of impact do volunteers achieve throught their work with the Coalition?

A: Every year, the Campaign enables low-income families to avoid the fees and high interest rates associated with commercial preparers. Through our services, taxpayers can utilize government benefits and obtain information necessary for financial growth. In 2011, Boston EITC Campaign volunteers facilitated the refunds of more than 11,500 taxpayers, totaling $17.5 million in tax refunds. Coalition volunteers also provided taxpayers' access to more than 3,000 credit reports.

Q: What communities are served by Boston EITC Coalition tax sites?

A: The Boston EITC Coalition aims to serve low and moderate-income taxpayers and taxpayers' families making less than $49,000 a year. In 2010, clients served at our sites received more than $7.3 million in Earned Income Tax Credits, with another $2.75 million refunded for Child Tax Credits. To view detailed reports of income and demographic statistics of those taxpayers served by the Coalition, click here.

Q: Do people who wish to volunteer with the Coalition need to have any specific skills and/or characteristics?

A: No, the Coalition welcomes all volunteers who wish to make an impact in Boston's communities. Basic computer skills are helpful, but we simplify the tax preparation process as much as possible in order to enable anyone - including volunteers with no prior knowledge of tax law or tax preparation software - to learn how to prepare quality, accurate tax returns. Our training is designed to teach basic tax preparation using Taxwise (provided by the IRS to all of our tax sites), a computer software that simplifies the preparation process to create a user-friendly experience. Volunteers are also provided with all of the necessary resources for more complicated returns or tax situations, including experienced staff on-site as well as veteran volunteers.

Note: Volunteers fluent in Spanish, Haitian Creole, Somali, Portuguese and Vietnamese are particularly needed, especially for our Tax Preparer and Financial Guide positions.

For any further questions regarding volunteering or training, feel free to contact Kim Bomba at kim.bomba.jcs@cityofboston.gov or call 617.918.5360.