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Volunteer Income Tax Assistance _VITA_

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					                           Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)
                                       Accounting 3110
                                         Spring 2005

Facilitator:    Robert Jaros
Office:         Accounting Department, Central 304
Phone:          (303) 579-3953
e-mail:         jarosr@mscd.edu
Office hours:   By appointment

Prerequisite: Accounting 3090 (Concepts in Federal Income Taxation)

IRS
Requirements: Basic Tax Law Exam
              e-file training

IRS
Registration: Students must register for class AND complete IRS registration form to be
              submitted to MSCD Accounting Department by December 15, 2004.

Resource
Materials:      Volunteer Assistors’ Guide – Student Text
                2004 Tax Guide – Publication 17
                IRS materials and handouts

e-mail:         We will use e-mail through MetroConnect as the official means of
                communication. You must submit your assignments through MetroConnect and
                check your e-mail regularly for updates and other information you need to
                know.

Course
Objectives:     Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) is an IRS program designed to
                offer free tax assistance to individuals who cannot afford professional
                assistance. You will be part of the Denver Metro-area VITA program.

                The primary objective of this course is for you to prepare individual tax returns
                at Emily Griffith Opportunity School and the Tivoli Student Union. Upon
                completion of this course, you should have a thorough understanding of how to
                prepare a 1040 US individual income tax return and 1040 Colorado individual
                income tax return using IRS’ Taxwise software.

Course
Structure:      This course will include one e-file session conducted by the IRS and seven
                classroom sessions (Tuesday and Thursday evenings), followed by eight hands-
                on sessions of preparing individual tax returns at one of two sites. Projected site
                times are:

                       Emily Griffith         Thursday        5 pm to 9 pm
                       Tivoli                 Saturday        10 am to 2 pm
                                                1
Grading
                                                       Points Per    Total
                                           Sessions      Session    Points
              e-file training                  1             6        6
              In class preparation             7             2       14
              Site visits
                    Attendance                 8             3       24
                  Peer evaluation              8             2       16
                       Total site visits                     5       40

              Weekly journals                 11             3       33
              Final journal                    1             7        7
                   Total                                            100

              The final letter grade is based on the total course points earned throughout the
              Semester. Instructor will provide semester-to-date status for each student.

                       A = 90 to 100
                       B = 80 to 89
                       C = 70 to 79
                       D = 60 to 69
                       F = less than 60
e-file
training      Your grade for e-file training will be based on upon completion of the first
              class of e-file training provided by the IRS test. The first class covers the IRS
              software Taxwise, which you will be using to prepare tax returns. The second
              class is optional, and provides you with more practice in using Taxwise.

              Note on IRS Training: To continue in this class, you MUST:
              1. Pass the Basic Tax Law Exam AND
              2. Complete the first class of e-filing training
In class
Preparation   Each class we will cover topics that will be a review of some of the more
              typical situations you will face as a tax preparer. Each student should come to
              class prepared to discuss the specific topic for that evening’s class. I will be
              giving self-graded quizzes to test your degree of readiness to prepare tax returns.
              Grade will be based on attendance (one point) and student’s participation (one
              point). All students will be called on in class and will be expected to be
              prepared and participate in the discussion.

Site Visits   Your grade will be based both on the hours worked at MSCD VITA sites
              and team peer review. Both attendance and contribution are essential to this
              portion of your grade. Individuals at each site are expected to be part of self-
              directed teams, where each person will share in the various roles at the site.
              Your input on peer evaluation will be completely confidential. If you do not
              submit a peer evaluation at the end of the course, you will lose all 16 points for
              peer evaluation. If you do submit a peer evaluation, your score will be the
              average score you receive from your classmates at your site.

                                                   2
Weekly
Journals:      You will prepare a weekly journal that captures your thoughts about the
               VITA experience. You will e-mail me your journal each week. It needs to be at
               least one (1) page long, double-spaced, preferably in Word. Your weekly
               installment is due by noon on the Monday following the week reported on.
               Your last journal should be a summary statement of your experiences that
               should be at least two pages. It is due Saturday, April 16th at noon. A journal
               that is one day late will receive a deduction from the grade equal to 20% of the
               points available for that assignment. Assignments that are two or more days late
               will not be accepted.

Site Teams:    Each site will have the following teams:
                  1. Personnel – scheduling, distributing roster, responsible for arranging
                      adequate coverage, and planning our schedules with the facilities
                      managers at the Tivoli and Emily Griffith. We will need parking passes
                      at Emily Griffith.
                  2. Marketing and Promotion – Responsible for promoting MSCD VITA
                      services. Prepare and post flyers. The posting of the flyers will probably
                      require the help of classmates not on the M&P committee. Provide
                      information to campus newspaper, website, and any other mass media
                      source that will get the word out. Keep Grace Reed informed about site
                      dates, times, and locations.
                  3. Logistics – Responsible for ensuring that the site has an adequate supply
                      of forms and supplies on hand. This may mean moving supplies from
                      Emily Griffith to the Tivoli and back. Keep IRS informed of the supply
                      situation.

Site Roles:    Each site will have the following roles:
                   Set up – Ensure that the computers are properly connected and set up for
                      the day/evening.
                   Screeners – Complete tax document checklist for each taxpayer and
                      ensure that the taxpayer has the material needed to prepare the return.
                   Tax preparers – Prepare individual tax returns
                   Quality control – Review and print out copies of tax returns.
                   Transmitter - Transmit returns at end of day/evening
                  Students may work on multiple roles on a particular day/evening.
                  Students should perform all duties during the site preparation days.
Confidential
Information: Students will be preparing individual tax returns and will see personal
             information. Students are expected to treat this information as confidential.
Customer
Service:     You will be part of the VITA team and will be preparing individual tax
             returns for the public. I expect that you will be courteous and respectful of all
             individuals you meet. Please bring any issues to my attention immediately.

Other
Policies:      All policies in the Student Handbook will apply to this class.

                                                3
Class and Site Schedule:

Pre-Classes        15-Nov              MSCD Registration begins
                   15-Dec              IRS Training Registration Form due
                   15-Dec Approx       Pick up self study package from MSCD Accounting Dept
                     8-Jan             Basic Tax Law Exam due
                    15-Jan or 22-Jan   Attend first e-file plus training

Classroom           18-Jan             Introduction; team organization; Review IRS Exam
                    20-Jan             Review IRS Exam; Filing status, Exemptions, Family law
                    24-Jan             Journal due - noon
                    25-Jan             Income
                    27-Jan             Adjustments, Deductions, Credits
                    31-Jan             Journal due - noon
                     1-Feb             Refunds, Payments, CO State Income Tax, PTC, 1040X
                     3-Feb             Aliens, 8843, 1040NR
                     7-Feb             Journal due - noon
                     8-Feb             Site Procedures, 8453

On-site            10-Feb              Emily Griffith (EG)
                   12-Feb                             Tivoli (T)
                   14-Feb              Journal due - noon
                   17-Feb              EG
                   19-Feb                             T
                   21-Feb              Journal due - noon
                   24-Feb              EG
                   26-Feb                             T
                   28-Feb              Journal due - noon
                    3-Mar              EG
                    5-Mar                             T
                    7-Mar              Journal due - noon
                   10-Mar              EG
                   12-Mar                             T
                   14-Mar              Journal due - noon
                   17-Mar              EG
                   19-Mar                             T
                   21-Mar              Journal due - noon
                   24-Mar              EG - Spring Break
                   26-Mar                             T - Spring Break
                   31-Mar              EG - Spring Break (EG)
                    2-Apr                             T
                    4-Apr              Journal due - noon
                    7-Apr              EG
                    9-Apr                             T
                   11-Apr              Journal due - noon
                   14-Apr              EG
                   15-Apr              Journal due - noon

Highlighted items are due dutes for IRS registration form, IRS exam, and Journals, and EG Spring Break
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