IRS needs volunteers

IRS needs volunteers


CHICAGO—The IRS has various volunteer programs that provide free tax assistance, and they are looking for individuals and organizations to help prepare tax returns free of charge.

Anyone can be a volunteer. In the past, volunteers have been college students, retirees and professionals. The Internal Revenue Service provides free tax law training and all materials needed to prepare basic individual income tax returns. Bilingual capabilities, knowledge of accounting, and computer skills are helpful but are not required. Volunteers are asked to donate three hours per week from Feb. 1 through April 15.

The IRS coordinates volunteer programs to provide free tax help to people who cannot afford professional assistance. The programs are available to assist taxpayers with low or limited incomes, individuals with disabilities, non-English-speaking taxpayers, the elderly and other taxpayers with special needs.

“We are looking to expand the number of volunteer programs in Illinois to assist the people who need help the most,” said IRS Director Jim Rogers, who oversees IRS education and outreach programs. “We need volunteers, and we also need more organizations to sponsor these volunteer programs.”

IRS volunteer programs include Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE), and a program called Tax-Aid, which is coordinated through the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). IRS works with social organizations, church groups, accounting clubs, professional organizations, and many others to coordinate the various volunteer programs.

“We can use volunteers with a variety of skills—if you want to prepare tax returns, free training is available. We also need people to arrange site locations or promote volunteer tax assistance in the community,” Rogers said. “You don’t need to be a tax pro to volunteer, but the program is certified for Continuing Professional Education credits for those who are.”

To be a VITA, TCE or Tax-Aid volunteer, or if your group is interested in sponsoring a site, call the IRS at (312) 566-3334. Training classes start soon.

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