To become a Vita Tax Preparer requires satisfactory completion of
an open book test. Classroom training by the IRS was done in January 2003, and consequently it is not possible to get
classroom training for this season. However, by getting the self-study material, and satisfactorily completing the open
book test, you can become a tax preparer. For further information please send email to
firstname.lastname@example.org. The email will be forwarded automatically to
the IRS VITA Contact.
The purpose of the open book test is to make sure you are familiar with
filling tax forms and can
follow instructions; the passing grade is 70% of the multiple choice questions;
if you do not pass a section, you can do a retest.
The training and successful completion of the open book test qualifies volunteers
to assist in tax preparation for certain taxpayers as a VITA volunteer. Tax returns
prepared by VITA
volunteers are considered self-prepared. VITA volunteers do not sign the tax returns as individuals; the
return includes the VITA designation for statistical purposes.
The Tax Preparation training teaches the concepts of income tax and is
sufficient for preparing tax returns on paper. The training does not qualify a volunteer
to give tax advice or complete tax returns for pay; different requirements
apply for preparing tax returns for pay.
More information on the requirements to become a paid
(professional) tax preparer for federal and California income tax returns is
available on the website of the California Tax Education Council (CTEC).
In general, it requires completion of a certain number of hours of training each
year from a recognized institution, obtaining a Surety Bond from an Insurance
Company, and registering with the CTEC. People with certain other
professional qualifications may be exempt from these requirement.
Taxwise E-File Basic and Refresher Training
E-File training is an
additional 3-hour training session on using a computer program for completing
the return on a computer. The software for 2002 is Taxwise provided
by Universal Tax Systems. In this training, you will learn to complete the tax return on
a computer and create an E-File of
the return. The E-File is a computer file ready for transmission by
internet to the IRS and the State.
While there are no formal pre-requisites for the class, it will be difficult and
frustrating if you are not familiar with a PC or laptop
and Microsoft Windows. If you have used other tax preparation
software in the past, this training will be easy for you.
Taxwise Transmit Training
Taxwise Transmit Training is a 3 hour training session on the
administrative details of transmitting the E-File to the
IRS and State. The pre-requisite is past experience with Taxwise. You must be very comfortable using a computer and
the internet. You will learn the steps to file tax
returns electronically over the internet, and to create the supporting paperwork (remember
that electronic filing is not always the same as paperless filing).