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Tax Prep Training Home



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  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.

Tax Preparation

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).

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Information on this site is obtained from sources considered reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate.  The purpose is to inform only; for advice and decisions, please refer to the official IRS website Questions or problems regarding this web site should be directed to
Copyright 2003 All rights reserved.
Last modified: 04/24/03.