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 2017 is available on One Support Help Center (be sure to check any Instructor Notes and Errata as well). There are 17 practice returns plus various exercises and quizzes. Note that these are available to Massachusetts Tax-Aide volunteers only. We have developed Mass Adaptations (updated 9 Nov 2017) of these returns to provide additional Massachusetts training opportunities. The federal answer key is available only through your district management. The answer keys for the Massachusetts Adaptations – done in TSO 2016 – can be found here: 2017 NTTC Mass Adaptations Answer Key TSO16 (Core) and 2017 NTTC Mass Adaptations Answer Key TSO16 (Comprehensive).
State Training. We have developed a state training workbook that districts can use to train their new and returning counselors. You can download the Massachusetts Consolidated Training Workbook and the Consolidated Workbook rev 5 Answer Key (TSO 2016) uploaded 3 Nov 2017, prepared using TaxSlayer Pro Online using 2016 software.