All client facilitators, preparers, reviewers, and e-filers are required to complete the training and pass the tests on the following topics:
- Publication 4961 VITA/TCE Volunteer Standards of Conduct – Ethics Training
- Publications 5101 Intake/Interview & Quality Review Training
All preparers, reviewers, and e-filers are required to complete the training and pass the certification test at the advanced level:
Preparers, reviewers, and e-filers who are likely to see taxpayers with Health Savings Accounts are highly encouraged to take the Health Savings Account specialty training and test.
There are a variety of resources available to help volunteers learn to prepare tax returns.
IRS. The IRS publishes Publication 4491, VITA/TCE Training Guide, Publication 4491-X, VITA/TCE Training Supplement, and Publication 4491-W, VITA/TCE Problems and Exercises. The last document is an evergreen publication and is not updated annually. All these documents focus on federal returns only.
TaxSlayer. TaxSlayer has established a training website called Practice Lab. Contact your district lead trainer for instructions on how to login. Practice Lab has a series of videos and seven practice exercises. While these focus on preparation of federal returns only, they cover a variety of scenarios and provide practice in navigating TaxSlayer. The practice problems and answer checkpoints can be downloaded directly from Practice Lab.
NTTC. The Tax-Aide National Tax Training Committee (NTTC) develops workbooks of practice returns and quizzes to support the volunteer training program. These focus on federal returns only. These exercises cover and wide range of topics, some of which may not be common at certain sites.
The NTTC Workbook for Tax Year 2018 is available on the Tax-Aide volunteer portal in the Libraries tab (be sure to check any Instructor Notes and Errata as well). There are a wide variety of practice returns plus various exercises and quizzes. Note that these are available to Tax-Aide volunteers only. The federal answer key is available only through your district management.
State Training. The MA Tax-Aide workbook of practice returns is available on the Volunteers Only page. Please note that this page is password protected – contact your district or local coordinator for the password.