Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)
Facilitator: Robert Jaros
Office: Accounting Department, Central 304
Phone: (303) 579-3953
Office hours: By appointment
Prerequisite: Accounting 3090 (Concepts in Federal Income Taxation)
Requirements: Basic Tax Law Exam
Registration: Students must register for class AND complete IRS registration form to be
submitted to MSCD Accounting Department by December 15, 2004.
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
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.
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
Emily Griffith Thursday 5 pm to 9 pm
Tivoli Saturday 10 am to 2 pm
Points Per Total
Sessions Session Points
e-file training 1 6 6
In class preparation 7 2 14
Attendance 8 3 24
Peer evaluation 8 2 16
Total site visits 5 40
Weekly journals 11 3 33
Final journal 1 7 7
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
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
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.
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
Site Roles: Each site will have the following roles:
Set up – Ensure that the computers are properly connected and set up for
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.
Information: Students will be preparing individual tax returns and will see personal
information. Students are expected to treat this information as confidential.
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.
Policies: All policies in the Student Handbook will apply to this class.
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
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
21-Feb Journal due - noon
28-Feb Journal due - noon
7-Mar Journal due - noon
14-Mar Journal due - noon
21-Mar Journal due - noon
24-Mar EG - Spring Break
26-Mar T - Spring Break
31-Mar EG - Spring Break (EG)
4-Apr Journal due - noon
11-Apr Journal due - noon
15-Apr Journal due - noon
Highlighted items are due dutes for IRS registration form, IRS exam, and Journals, and EG Spring Break