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									                                               Tax Year 2011


Publication 4396-A (Rev. 12-2011) Catalog Number 50835F Department of the Treasury Internal Revenue Service
                               Table of Contents
                               Welcome                                             3

                               Taxpayer Preparation Services                       5
                                  Traditional VITA/TCE                             5
                                  Virtual VITA/TCE                                 5
                                  Facilitated Self-Assistance                      6
                                  Tax Education                                    6
                                  Financial Education and Asset Building           6

                               Policies and Other Considerations                   7
                                   Use and Disclosure of Taxpayer Information      7
                                   Protecting the Taxpayer’s Civil Rights          8
                                   Taxpayers’ Privacy and Confidentiality          9
                                   Filing Season Action Plan                      10
                               Program (Site) Development                         13
                                  The Ideal Site                                  13
                                  Site Coordinator Guidance                       14
                                  Site Coordinator Training                       14
                                  Site Coordinator and Volunteer Training Plans   15
                                  Mandatory Site Requirements                     15

                               The Volunteer                                      17
                                   Recruitment                                    17
                                   Standards of Conduct                           17
                                   Certification Requirements                     18
                                   Training Products and Instructor Guidance      19

                               Volunteer Communications & Appreciation            21
                                   Volunteer Tax Alerts                           21
                                   Quality Site Requirement Alerts                21
                                   Community Network                              21
                                   Outreach Corner                                21
                                   Volunteer Appreciation and Recognition         22

                               Electronic Filing Resources                        23
                                   Modernized e-File                              23
                                   EFIN Application                               24
                                   IRS Provided Tax Preparation Software          24
                                   Recordkeeping and Documentation                24
                                   Prior Year Return Preparation                  24
                                   Advertising Standards                          25

                               Program Reports and Oversight                      27
                                  Site Information for Taxpayers                  27
                                  Volunteer Assistance Summary Report             27
                                  Oversite of VITA/TCE Sites – Visits             28

                               IRS Initiatives and Strategies                     29
                                   Disabilities Initiative                        29
                                   Limited English Proficiency - Hispanic         29
                                   Native American/Tribal Initiative              30
                                   Rural Strategy                                 30

                               IRS Grant Opportunities                            31
                                   Volunteer Income Tax Assistance                31
                                   Tax Counseling for the Elderly                 32

Partner Resource Package   2
Thank you for your support of the IRS Volunteer Tax Preparation
Program and the vital assistance you provide taxpayers in your
community. This publication contains information about major
components of the program and descriptions of publications and forms
you need to manage your program.

The products discussed in this publication are accessible from or from your local IRS relationship manager.

The longevity of the program is founded on the trust that taxpayers have    The IRS Mission
with our partners and volunteers. As explained later, the IRS taxpayer      “Provide America’s
services program business model includes three approaches for               taxpayers top-quality
providing free tax preparation. Tax education and financial education and   service by helping them
asset building are integral to the success of the overall model.            understand and meet
                                                                            their tax responsibilities
Thanks again for your commitment to serve the individuals in your
                                                                            and enforce the law with
community. We welcome your suggestions for improving your experience,
                                                                            integrity and fairness to
as well as that of the taxpayers you serve. Please e-mail your comments
including suggestions for improving this publication to
You may also share your ideas with your local IRS support team.

SPEC - The IRS Outreach & Education Function
Stakeholder Partnerships, Education and Communication (SPEC) is the
outreach and education function of Internal Revenue Service’s Wage and
Investment (W&I) Division. SPEC through its partners generally serves
low to moderate income taxpayers who file individual income tax returns
(Forms 1040). These taxpayers include but are not limited to the elderly,
persons with disabilities and taxpayers with Limited English proficiency.

As a partner with the IRS, you will deliver one or more of the IRS’
taxpayer preparation programs. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance
(VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) are widely known
programs in the tax preparation services business model.

                                                                            Partner Resource Package     3

Partner Resource Package   4
(IRS-SPEC Business Model)
       The IRS-SPEC Taxpayer Preparation Services
                          Business Model

This traditional approach to free return preparation, uses a certified
                                                                            View the Virtual
volunteer to prepare a return for a taxpayer in a face to face meeting
                                                                            VITA/TCE video!
using a standard intake sheet, interview and quality review process.
                                                                            Two partners have
The IRS’ preferred method for providing free tax preparation at VITA/TCE    incorporated this
sites remains face-to-face assistance where an IRS-Certified volunteer      innovative technique
conducts an interview, in person, with the taxpayer. However, as partners   into their free tax
you are challenged to provide free tax preparation to a growing number      preparation program.
of eligible taxpayers. Capacity at many sites has reached its limit;        View the video at
and some partners face challenges securing equipment and certified (keyword:
volunteers. Recognizing these challenges, SPEC has introduced two tax       online learning)
return preparation models that vary from the traditional VITA/TCE model.

Virtual VITA/TCE
This approach uses the same process as a traditional VITA/TCE
site except that the preparer and the taxpayer are not face to face.
Technology is used to connect the volunteer preparer and the taxpayer.
Technology includes internet, fax, and video. Although suitable for rural
environments where it is difficult to build a traditional VITA site, this
approach can be used in urban settings to provide a free alternative to
qualified taxpayers.

                                                                            Partner Resource Package   5
           Facilitated Self-Assistance                            Financial Education and Asset
           This approach uses a certified volunteer to assist     Building (FEAB)
           taxpayers in the preparation of their return. Since    The business model also includes financial
           the role of the volunteer is a facilitator, multiple   education and asset building. The primary goal
           taxpayers can be assisted at one time by each          of FEAB is to work with partners who are experts
           volunteer. Because the taxpayers are preparing         in financial education and asset building to
           their returns, the quality process required in         encourage taxpayers to use their refund dollars
           traditional and virtual VITA/TCE is not applicable.    to improve their financial health.

           Tax Education (Outreach)                               By working in concert with financial institutions
           Partners that utilized the facilitated self            and other organizations, especially those
           assistance model teach taxpayers to prepare            linked to free tax preparation sites, partners
           their own return, tax education also includes          can provide the financial options that taxpayers
           providing critical information to taxpayers to         need and want, including banking, savings,
           ensure they understand and comply with their           Individual Development Accounts (IDAs), debit
           tax obligations. This includes providing taxpayers     cards, financial counseling and a myriad of other
           with information to enhance their knowledge of         financial services that help taxpayers achieve
           general income tax law, available tax credits,         financial independence.
           and legislative changes affecting tax law, filing
           and payment options. The following are tools           For Additional Information
           available to partners:                                 For more information contact your SPEC
                                                                  relationship manager or visit the
               • The Outreach Corner on               (keyword: Forms and Publications) for:
                 (keyword: outreach corner) offers you
                 electronic communication materials to             1. Publication 4907, Free File for VITA Partners
                 use in reaching out to the people you             2. Publication 1084, IRS Volunteer Site
                 serve. Get free news you can use each                Coordinator’s Handbook
                 month, targeted by time of year to coincide       3. Visit (keyword: online learning)
                 with what your customers, employees,                 to view the FEAB 101 video series
                 volunteers, etc. need to know about new
                 tax law legislation, IRS events and other
                 activities that affect them.
               • EITC Central is the one stop shop for
                 outreach materials and information about
                 the Earned Income Tax Credit or the EITC.
                 The EITC is a refundable federal income
                 tax credit for low to moderate income
                 working individuals and families. Eligible
                 taxpayers may receive an unexpected
                 refund. EITC Central can be located from
                 the EITC Home Page on
                 (keyword: EITC).

Partner Resource Package     6
and Other
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly
programs offer free tax return preparation to low to moderate income
taxpayers with income generally less than $50,000. This publication
contains detailed information about the forms and schedules prepared
at each site. The information is also available on (keyword:
volunteer training).

Unauthorized use and disclosure of taxpayer information
Internal Revenue Code (IRC) 7216 and related provision of the code,
section 6713, which provide penalties against tax return prepares who
make unauthorized use or disclosure of tax return information, were
updated for the first time in more than 30 years.

Treasury Reg. 301.7216-1(b) (2) strengthens taxpayers’ ability to control
their tax return information. The Reg. requires tax return preparers
give taxpayers specific information, including who will receive the tax
return information and the particular items of tax return information to
be disclosed or used. Taxpayers will be allowed to make informed and
voluntary decisions over disclosure or use of their tax information by their
tax return preparer. The regulations apply to disclosures or uses of tax
return information occurring on or after January 1, 2009.
    • Definition of a tax return preparer
      A tax return preparer is defined in this code section as “…any
      person who prepares tax returns or assists in preparing tax              IRS-SPEC policy:
      returns, …whether or not the person charges a fee for tax return         All volunteer sites using
      preparation services.”                                                   or disclosing taxpayer
       On January 4, 2010, Treasury and the IRS published guidance             data for purposes other
       under Sections `§301.7216- 2. The revised regulation provides           than current, prior, or
       updated guidance affecting tax return preparers’ use and                subsequent year tax
       disclosure of tax return information related to maintaining and         return preparation must
       compiling lists for solicitation of tax return preparation services     secure the taxpayer’s
       and disclosure and use of statistical compilations of data in           consent to use and
       support of their tax return preparation business. The revised           disclose these data.
       Section 7216 regulations apply to disclosures or uses of tax return
       information occurring on or after January 4, 2010.
        The applicability of this section expires on or before
       December 29, 2012.

                                                                               Partner Resource Package    7
               • The exception for anonymous                      Civil Rights Compliance Reports
                 aggregate data                                   All partners receiving financial assistance
                 All volunteer sites using or disclosing          from IRS are required to complete and sign
                 anonymous aggregate data for                     Form 13325 annually no later than January 10
                 fundraising, marketing, publicity or other       before receiving financial assistance. Financial
                 uses related to the volunteer sites’ tax         assistance includes: Grant funds, loaned
                 return preparation business are not              equipment, direct employee support, use of
                 required to secure the taxpayers’ consent.       federal property, issued computer software and
                  Under the regulations, a statistical            waiver of any fees, etc. Form 13324 is required
                  compilation is anonymous if it does             from sub-partners.
                  not include any personally identifiable             • Form 13325, Statement of Assurance
                  information, such as the taxpayer’s name,             Concerning Civil Rights Compliance for
                  SSN/ITIN, address or other personal                   Internal Revenue Service Stakeholder
                  information, and does not disclose cells              Partnerships, Education and
                  containing data from fewer than ten tax               Communication (SPEC) – The signed
                  returns.                                              forms are forwarded to SPEC Territory
                                                                        Offices and the External Civil Rights Unit
           This exception does not apply to the use                     (ECRU). Instructions and address are on
           or disclosure in marketing or advertising                    the form.
           of statistical compilations containing or
           reflecting dollar amounts of refund, credit or             • Form 13324, Internal Revenue Service
           rebate or percentages relating thereto.                      Civil Rights Assurance for Sub-
                                                                        Recipients under SPEC Partnership
           Protecting the Taxpayer’s Civil Rights                       Agreements – This form is signed by the
           As an IRS partner, you are responsible for                   sub-partner and maintained at the SPEC
           ensuring that your organization complies with                Partner level only. Do not forward to the
           Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This               Territory Office or the ECRU.
           means no taxpayer shall be excluded from
           participating in, be denied the benefits of, or be     Notifying Taxpayer of their Civil Rights
           subjected to discrimination because of race,           The IRS provides several products for advising
           color, sex, national origin, reprisal, disability or   taxpayers of their rights of Title VI. The local
           age in programs or activities supported by the         SPEC relationship manager will assist partners
           Department of the Treasury – Internal Revenue          with ordering the products.
           Service.                                                   • Publication 730 (ENG/SP), Important
                                                                        Tax Records Envelope – This envelope
           Reasonable accommodation for the persons                     should be used by all sites to provide
           with disabilities                                            taxpayer with a copy of their completed tax
           Taxpayers with a disability may require a                    return and related documentation.
           reasonable accommodation in order to
           participate or receive the benefits of a program           • Publication 4481 (ENG/SP), Your
           or activity supported by the Department of the               Civil Rights are Protected – A poster
           Treasury – Internal Revenue Service. Employees               and handout that explains that under
           and volunteers at Taxpayer Assistance Centers                no circumstances will the IRS tolerate
           (TAC), Low-Income Tax Centers (LITC),                        discrimination by its employees, grantees,
           Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites                 contractors, or subcontractors. This
           and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) sites,              information must be displayed or provided
           are responsible for ensuring that all requests for           to taxpayers at all VITA sites. It can be
           reasonable accommodation are granted when                    given to taxpayer where the Publication is
           the request is made by a qualified individual with           not posted or the taxpayer did not receive
           a disability. IRS will provide you with the Title VI         Publication 730 or Form 13614-C.
           products to either post or provide to taxpayers.

Partner Resource Package      8
    • Form 13614-C, Intake/Interview and                Sponsor Agreement
      Quality Review Sheet. All sites are               Form 13533, Sponsor Agreement, is requested
      required to use this form when preparing          annually from new partners and from existing
      tax returns for taxpayers.                        partners. It reiterates the key principles of
                                                        privacy and confidentiality and serves as an
Maintain Taxpayers’                                     agreement between IRS and you as the sponsor
Privacy & Confidentiality                               on key privacy principles and handling of the
Taxpayers using the services at VITA or TCE             information provided for return preparation.
sites, place a great deal of trust in the individuals   To maintain program integrity and provide for
preparing their return. While they expect an            reasonable protection of information provided
accurate return, they also expect that the              by the taxpayers serviced through the VITA/
information they provide will be protected in such      TCE program, it is essential that partners and
a way as to respect their privacy and maintain          volunteers adhere to the strictest standards of
the confidentiality of the information shared.          ethical conduct.
Taxpayers utilizing VITA/TCE sites provide              As a partner operating a VITA and TCE site, you
personal information to the volunteers, such as         are required to sign Form 13533, confirming you
name, addresses, social security numbers, birth         will:
dates, and bank account information. This type              • Maintain program integrity and provide
of information is a prime target for identity theft.          reasonable protection of information
Therefore, partners and volunteers must keep                  provided by the individuals who use the
the information confidential and protect it from              services, and
unauthorized individuals and misuse.
                                                            • Observe the software license agreement
Privacy and Confidentiality – A Public Trust                  and electronic filing guidance when
Publication 4299, Privacy and Confidentiality                 supporting electronic filing through IRS
– A Public Trust, serves as an IRS guide for you              provided software.
to ensure the integrity of and continued public
trust in the volunteer return preparation program       Publication 4391, Privacy Act Notice, is used
consisting of VITA and TCE.                             to accompany requests for information specific
                                                        to the partner or volunteers not collected on a
Publication 4299 establishes the key principles in      published form. Published forms used by the
providing this protection for you as the sponsor        IRS for solicitations of partner or volunteer
(and your volunteers) operating VITA and TCE            information contain a Privacy Act Notice on the
sites. This publication also provides guidance          form itself.
that must be followed if using or disclosing tax
return information for other than current, prior, or
subsequent year tax return preparation.

                                                                                     Partner Resource Package   9
      Filing Season Action Plan
      To assist you in planning and managing your site, review the Filing Season Action Plan below:

      On-Going     Volunteer Recruitment
                   Order additional training material as needed
                   Update Form 13715, Volunteer Site Information Sheet and submit to IRS as site information
                   Submit Form 13206, Volunteer Assistance Summary Report (or similar listing) to the local IRS
                   SPEC Office by the 3rd day after the end of the month after the site opens.
                   Implement a quality review process at all sites
                   Ensure a process is in place to notify taxpayers of Title VI procedures in all required sites
                   Discuss and distribute Volunteer Tax Alerts to all volunteers
                   Open e-file sites
                   Recognize volunteer efforts and schedule recognition ceremonies
                   Continue Volunteer Training and Certification
      July         New sites: Apply for EFIN (Electronic Filing Identification Number) and SIDN (Site
                   Identification Number) through your IRS SPEC office
      September Order electronic filing software through your local IRS SPEC office.
                   Complete Form 2333V for training materials order and submit to your IRS SPEC contact.
      October      Select or firm up site location(s).
                   Identify instructors for electronic filing, tax law training, and certification.
                   Schedule date and place for electronic filing training and certification.
                   Schedule date and place for volunteer tax training and certification.
                   Identify/secure computer equipment for volunteer tax site(s).
      November     All VITA and TCE-Non AARP sites are to submit Form 13206, Volunteer Assistance
                   Summary Report (or similar partner created form or listing), to the IRS SPEC office listing
                   each volunteer by the 3rd day after the end of the month after the site opens (report each
                   volunteer only once on Form 13206 during a filing season).
                   Begin preparing Volunteer Site Information Sheet, Form 13715.
                   Begin both electronic filing and volunteer tax training and certification classes.
                   Begin Site Coordinators Training.
      December     Complete or update Form 13715 and submit to IRS SPEC contact. The information should be
                   provided to your local IRS office annually no later than December 20.
                   Begin community awareness publicity.
                   If required, sign Form13324 or 13325, Statement of Assurance Concerning Civil Rights and
                   return to SPEC. All partners receiving financial assistance from IRS are required to complete
                   and sign Form 13324 or 13325.
                   Meet with volunteers to plan strategy for staffing/operating site(s).
                   Identify volunteer to serve as alternate site coordinator in your absence.
                   Verify order of forms and supplies for sites.
                   After training, secure completed Form 13615, Volunteer Agreement, from each volunteer.
                   Forward the original of the Form 13615 to your local IRS SPEC contact and retain a copy at
                   the Partner or Site level.

Partner Resource Package      10
Filing Season Action Plan
To assist you in planning and managing your site, review the Filing Season Action Plan below:

January      All Site Coordinators training must be completed annually no later than January 31.
             Complete and sign Form 13324 or 13325 annually no later than January 10 (before receiving
             financial assistance)
             After training, complete optional Form 13645, Wallet Card, for each certified volunteer.
             Conduct volunteer training/meeting to verify roles/responsibilities.
             Establish/Implement a Quality Review process for all returns prepared at the site.
             Complete the installation of the tax preparation software on computers used at e-file sites.
             Set defaults, including the SIDN, and enter passwords
             Open VITA/TCE program e-file sites.
             Ensure a process is in place to notify taxpayers of Title VI procedures in all required sites.
             All VITA and TCE-Non AARP sites are to submit Form 13206, Volunteer Assistance Summary
             Report (or similar partner created form or listing), to the IRS SPEC office listing each
             volunteer by the 3rd day after the end of the month after the site opens (report each volunteer
             only once on Form 13206 during a filing season).
February     TCE sites provide the IRS SPEC Territory office by February 2, a list of volunteers who passed
             the test or retest.
             Recognize volunteer efforts.
             Start Site Review
March        Schedule volunteer recognition ceremonies.
             Work with IRS SPEC contact to prepare certificates for volunteers.
             Initiate formal appreciation for site sponsor (certificate and letter).
April        Plan/attend volunteer and sponsor recognition ceremonies.
             Initiate site close-out procedures as referenced in Section III of this publication; and post-
             filing software procedures as referenced in Publication 3189, Volunteer e-file Administrator
May          All open VITA and TCE-Non AARP sites are to submit Form 13206, Volunteer Assistance
             Summary Report (or similar partner created form or listing), to the IRS SPEC office, listing
             each volunteer – final report due May 16.
             If e-filing, ensure all applicable Forms 8453 were submitted to the IRS Submission
             Processing Campus and IRS SPEC office (if required).
             Evaluate filing season, site, and volunteers.
             Provide IRS SPEC local contact with feedback to improve or enhance operation for next year.
             When applicable, secure/confirm site location for next year.
             Schedule a closeout meeting with IRS SPEC contact.
             Begin volunteer recruitment for next filing season.

                                                                                       Partner Resource Package   11

Partner Resource Package   12
The Ideal Site
The local SPEC relationship manager will provide specific expectations
and requirements to establishing, developing and managing your
program. So, what factors contribute to an ideal site?

   • Visible and trusted community partner
   • Organizational support with sufficient resources to adequately
     serve community needs
   • Location should be strategically placed and accessible to targeted
   • Site should be Americans with Disabilities Act compliant (wheel
     chair accessible)
   • Adequate support space for service, secure storage, waiting area
     and restrooms
   • Adequate parking and street visibility with access to public
   • Safe location for volunteers and taxpayers
   • Site/staff accessible year round

   • Fixed site technology including computers and printers to support
     electronic filing
   • Office equipment including copier, fax machine, phone and
   • Broadband Internet Access
                                                                          Expanding Access
   • On-site information technology support                               Expand taxpayer
   • Adequate number of desks, tables and chairs                          access to free return
   • Adequate electrical, light, ventilation, and an acceptable heating   preparation using
     and cooling system                                                   Virtual VITA/TCE
                                                                          or Facilitated Self
                                                                          Assistance. These
    • Site Coordinator and staff committed to quality                     options may reduce the
    • Core of experienced volunteers/paid staff                           amount of resources
    • Sufficient staffing to meet site needs (customer and volunteer      required to deliver
      support)                                                            services.

                                                                          Partner Resource Package   13
             • Well-trained and certified volunteer tax
                preparers                                     Although Publication 1084 is written with Site
             • Commitment to Quality Site Requirements        Coordinators in mind it contains information
                and Standards                                 helpful to partners and volunteers also. It is
             • Privacy for tax preparation and taxpayer       intended to provide a step by step VITA/TCE site
                interviews/reviews                            guidance ensuring success as well as providing
             • System and process to safeguard                the best service possible to the taxpayer. The
                taxpayer information                          Handbook includes detailed information about
                                                              all aspects of volunteer tax preparation site
             • Dedicated intake and quality review
             • Quality Review on 100% of returns              The Publication 1084 can be downloaded at
                prepared                             on the Forms and Publications
                                                              page. You can also secure a paper copy from
          Financial Education and Asset Building              your SPEC Relationship Manager or order a
          (FEAB):                                             copy via the Form 2333V, VITA/TCE Order Form,
              • Financial education and asset building        discussed later in this document.
                opportunities incorporated into return
                preparation process                           Site Coordinator Training
              • On-site coaches available for clients         VITA/TCE Site Coordinator training must be
                (credit services, establishing bank           provided to every Site Coordinator and included
                accounts, etc.)                               in your training plan. Site Coordinators are the
                                                              key to ensuring volunteers are following the
              • Customers are screened for benefit
                                                              quality processes. They play a critical role in
                programs and tax credits
                                                              the quality of volunteer prepared returns and
              • Customers are surveyed for FEAB               influence how volunteers implement the various
                program ne                                    quality processes.
          Site Coordinator Guidance                           Since this training is a critical component to
          Publication 1084, IRS Volunteer Site                the success of the VITA/TCE program, SPEC
          Coordinator’s Handbook, contains an                 provides Site Coordinator training through
          overview of the volunteer program with              Link & Learn Taxes (our web-based training
          specific information about the scope of the         program), and stand-alone through Power Point.
          program, program policies and the Quality Site      It details the roles and responsibilities of the
          Requirements that must be used by all VITA and      Site Coordinators, available resources, and
          TCE sites. This publication should be used in       delivers an effective “how to” approach in using
          conjunction with:                                   Publication 1084, IRS Volunteer Site Coordinator
              • Publication 4012, Volunteer Resource          Handbook and Publication 3189, Volunteer e-file
                 Guide                                        Administrator’s Guide. The training is designed
              • Publication 3189, Volunteer e-file            to allow flexibility at the territory and partner
                 Administrator                                level to add local procedures or guidance. The
                                                              training must be completed prior to the site
              • Publication 4299, Privacy and
                                                              opening or January 31, whichever is earlier.
          The quality of return preparation and operational
          services provided by volunteers are paramount
          to the success of the volunteer tax preparation

Partner Resource Package     14
Site Coordinator and Volunteer                        Ten Mandatory Site Requirements
Training Plans                                        All taxpayers using the services offered through
Sponsors/partners should develop a training plan      the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax
detailing how tax law and software training for       Counseling for the Elderly Programs should
volunteers is provided and address the following      be confident they are receiving accurate return
(at a minimum):                                       preparation and quality service. The purpose
    • Training delivery method, e.g., classroom,      of the Quality Site Requirements (QSR) is to
      self-study, blended training.                   ensure quality and accuracy of return preparation
                                                      and consistent operation of sites.
    • Total training hours per volunteer.
                                                      There are 10 practices, outlined below, that
    • Timeframe for classroom training.               have been identified as necessary to ensure
    • Resources requirements (in addition to          taxpayers visiting VITA/TCE sites receive quality
      IRS materials).                                 service and accurate return preparation. For
                                                      an explanation of the ten QSR, please refer
    • Specialized training for screeners, quality
                                                      Publication 1084.
      reviewers, electronic return originator, site
      coordinators, return preparers, etc. beyond        1. Certification
      IRS provided resources.                            2. Intake/Interview Process
    • Mentoring/coaching for new volunteers.             3. Quality Review Process
    • Method used to obtain student satisfaction         4. Reference Materials
      feedback and steps taken to enhance
      training.                                          5. Volunteer Agreement

Your local IRS-SPEC relationship manager will            6. Timely Filing
work with you to assess your training plans and          7. Title VI
assist you with your training needs.
                                                         8. Site Identification Number
                                                         9. Electronic Filing Identification Number
                                                        10. Security, Privacy and Confidentiality

                                                                                  Partner Resource Package   15

Partner Resource Package   16
The Volunteer –
A Critical Element
for Success
Annually IRS assists partners in securing VITA/TCE volunteers by
soliciting on for volunteers, and by issuing News Releases,
and Public Service Announcements. Each partner is responsible for
soliciting and securing volunteers to staff their sites.

Volunteer Recruitment
Volunteers are the key to the success of any VITA/TCE program.
Volunteer recruitment should be a year round activity.                         IRS Recruitment
    • Consider recruitment opportunities at local businesses, like banks       Visit for
      and brokerage firms, educational institutions especially those with      volunteer recruitment
      accounting and business curriculum and professional associations         information. Form
      like CPA’s and financial planners.                                       14310, Volunteer
                                                                               Sign-up, utube videos,
    • Develop and maintain relationships with local media contacts and
                                                                               news releases, etc are
      organizations with websites and newsletters where informational
                                                                               available on the web
      articles can be posted.
    • Look for opportunities to distribute volunteer recruitment flyers like
      public gatherings, libraries, government offices, non-profit events,     Don’t forget to seek
      etc.                                                                     the information from
                                                                               your local IRS-SPEC
Volunteer Standards of Conduct                                                 relationship manager
All taxpayers using VITA/TCE services should be confident they are             about volunteer interest
receiving accurate return preparation and quality service. All volunteers      in your area.
must sign Form 13615, Volunteer Standards of Conduct Agreement,
stating they will comply with the program requirements and uphold the
highest ethical standards.Verification should be maintained at the site by
the Site Coordinator.
Form 13615 must be signed each year. It serves two purposes, it obtains
the volunteer’s agreement to the standards of conduct for the VITA and
TCE programs, and provides the IRS and/or partner a place to record the
level of certification achieved by the volunteer.

The six volunteer standards of conduct are:
   1. Follow the 10 Quality Site Requirements (QSR)
   2. Not accept payment or solicit donations for federal or state tax
      return preparation
   3. Not solicit business from a taxpayer they assist or use the
      knowledge gained about a taxpayer for any direct or indirect
      personal benefit
   4. Not knowingly prepare false returns
   5. Not engage in criminal, infamous, dishonest, notoriously
      disgraceful conduct, or any other conduct deemed to have a
      negative effect on the VITA/TCE Programs
                                                                               Partner Resource Package   17
   6. Treat all taxpayers in a professional,           the site and must develop a process to ensure
      courteous, and respectful manner                 volunteers are preparing and/or quality reviewing
                                                       returns based on their appropriate level of
Validation Notification to SPEC: Form 13615            certification.
is validated when:
                                                       Site coordinators must also certify completion
     • Signed and dated by the volunteer
                                                       of Site Coordinator Training prior to the site
       (electronic or paper),
                                                       opening. This training may be obtained via Link &
     • Volunteer’s identity is validated by viewing    Learn Taxes or from the local IRS SPEC territory
       proper identification, and                      office. See the Site Coordinator Training section
     • Signed and dated by the designated site         for more information.
       coordinator, instructor, partner or IRS
       employee.                                       Volunteer Return Preparers and others
                                                       The IRS provides both paper and electronic
Once validated, Form 13615 is retained by the
                                                       products to assist volunteers in achieving
designated partner and/or site coordinator. All
                                                       the goals of providing high quality services
volunteers who sign Form 13615 are added to
                                                       and preparing an accurate return. Your local
Form 13206, Volunteer Summary Report.
                                                       relationship managers will provide specifics
For more information about the Standards               about certification requirements for tax preparers,
of Conduct and the training see the                    quality reviewers, etc.
                                                       Training Products and Instructor
Certification Requirements                             Guidance
All Program Participants (including support            The IRS’ e-learning application, Link & Learn
staff)                                                 Taxes (L&LT) is the preferred method for
All volunteers must complete the Standards of          volunteer training. It is available 24/7 on
Conduct Training (Ethics) and sign Form 13615 and is designed for classroom,
prior to working at a site. Volunteers, who answer     self-study and a combination of self-study
tax law questions, instruct tax law, prepare           and classroom training (blended training). The
or correct tax returns and/or conduct quality          application contains instructor lesson plans with
reviews of tax returns must complete and pass          links to IRS social media products. L&LT also
one or more IRS tests annually to be certified.        includes the Electronic Tax Software Practice
Volunteers can only prepare returns based on           Lab. The Practice Lab connects the students to
their level of certification (Basic, Intermediate,     the tax preparation software used at volunteer
Advanced, Military, International, Puerto Rico, or     sites and is highly recommended for taking the
Foreign Student).                                      certification test.
Volunteers who assist in various roles                 For information about the certification levels,
(for example, greeters, client facilitators,           courses of study, and L&LT visit the Partner and
receptionists, equipment coordinators, etc.) who       Volunteer Resource Center on
do not provide assistance with tax law-related         (keyword search: volunteer training) or contact
issues do not have to certify in tax law.              your local SPEC Office.

Instructors and Site Quality Reviewer                  Guidance for VITA/TCE Instructor
All instructors and site quality reviewers must be     Publication 4555-e, e-instructor guidance
certified, at a minimum, at the intermediate level.    contains information and guidance for new and
If the site is preparing returns at the Advanced,      returning VITA/TCE volunteer return preparer
Military, International, Foreign Student/Scholar       instructors. The guide is accessible online at
or Puerto Rico levels, the volunteer’s certification and contains:
level must be equivalent.

Site Coordinators
Site coordinators must have a method to verify
certification the day the volunteer reports to

                                                                               Partner Resource Package      18
          1. Answers to Frequently Asked Instructor         Products and Ordering
             Questions about attributes of effective        Computer Assisted Publishing System (CAPS)
             instructors, suggestions for instructor        is the IRS ordering system for VITA/TCE site,
             preparation and starting a class, etc.         training and outreach materials. There are two
          2. Suggestion for addressing students             methods for ordering products, e-mail using
             concerns about what is expected of them,       Form 2333V (VITA/TCE Order Form) and
             how to keep them engaged and what is a         excel spreadsheets. Guidance for submitting
             tax return.                                    and monitoring orders using the two ordering
                                                            methods is issued by the local SPEC relationship
          3. Testing and certification requirements and     manager. All orders are approved
             why the test is not a team effort.             by the relationship manager before processing.
          4. Guidance for teaching each lesson including
             interactive lesson plans, suggested            Download Quantities of 10 or less
             presentation times and the content of each     Where possible, quantities of 10 or less of any
             course.                                        product should be downloaded from the forms
                                                            and publications section in Visit the
          5. Links to useful training resources including   Volunteer and Partner Resource page on www.
             the TaxWise training modules, software for a listing of the IRS-SPEC products
             practice lab, Form 1040 instructions, 1040     planned for the filing season or contact your local
             Central, etc.                                  SPEC Office.

Partner Resource Package      19

Partner Resource Package   20
& Appreciation
Volunteer Tax and Quality Site Requirement Alerts
Volunteer Tax Alerts (VTA), and Quality Site Requirement Alerts (QSRA)
are issued to partners and site coordinators throughout the filing season.
Site coordinators must have a process in place to ensure all Volunteer
Tax Alerts have been distributed and discussed with all volunteers.
VTA messages must be available at the site within 5 days of IRS
issuance. It is recommended that the site coordinator check the Site
Coordinators Corner on regularly for new VTA.
    • Volunteer Tax Alerts update, correct or clarify tax law topics.
      VTA messages have proven to be a useful educational tool and
      are most valuable when delivered immediately to their intended
      audience (SPEC VITA/TCE Partners’ and their certified volunteers).
    • Quality Site Requirement Alerts are issued to SPEC employees,
      VITA sites and National AARP Tax Aid when improvement
      opportunities are identified during quality reviews. The alerts can
      be accessed on on the Site Coordinator Corner,
      forwarded from the local SPEC Territory office or issued as Cyber

The Community Network                                               - keyword
The Community Network web page on, features valuable             “Community Network”
products, resources and tools to help SPEC’s national network of
partners and volunteers better serve taxpayers. In the Partner and
Volunteer Resource Center, you’ll find valuable products to use when
implementing your tax partnership efforts. This page contains links to
materials for current partners, potential partners and volunteers who
assist with free tax preparation.

Outreach Corner (
Subscribe now to receive email alerts when the page is updated! Get
free news you can use each month, targeted by time of year to coincide
with what your customers, employees, volunteers, etc. need to know
about new tax law legislation, IRS events and other activities that affect
Feel free to use the content in your websites, in electronic products,
publications, etc. as needed. Also submit your suggestions for topics you
would like to see. Access the outreach corner through a keyword search

                                                                             Partner Resource Package   21
            Volunteer Appreciation and                               Volunteer Milestone Recognition
            Recognition                                              SPEC will also provide partners, volunteers and
            The IRS SPEC organization would like to                  sites honors for their dedicated years of service.
            recognize volunteers and organizations for their         SPEC honors milestones of 10 years to mark
            dedication during the filing season. Certificates of     partner, volunteer, and site dedication. SPEC will
            Appreciation are available from your IRS SPEC            only consider those partners, volunteers, and
            relationship manager to present to individuals           sites whose years of service are increments of
            and organizations that have made noteworthy              10.
            contributions to the program.
                                                                     The table below depicts the milestone and type
                                                                     of recognition available.

                     Milestone       10 Years      20 Years        30 Years      40 Years     Submit Form
                       Partner       Certificate   Plaque          Trophy        Director’s    Form 14307
                                                   Wooden                          Award
                      Volunteer      Lapel Pin     Plaque          Plaque         Trophy       Form 14309
                                                   Acrylic         Wooden
                         Site        Certificate   Plaque          Plaque         Trophy       Form 14308
                                                   Acrylic         Wooden

            To obtain the IRS appreciation product(s)       no later than February 25th
            complete the applicable form in the last column          annually. Please confirm all name spelling.
            of the table above and submit them through

Partner Resource Package        22
(Available from the IRS)
One advantage of partnering with the IRS to open a volunteer tax
preparation site is free access to IRS provided tax preparation software.
Currently, SPEC provides TaxWise® software for use at VITA/TCE sites
to electronically prepare and transmit federal and state tax returns. IRS
e-file makes filing a tax return more accurate and use of direct deposit
provides refunds within 7 to 10 calendar days.
The following resources are provided to ensure you are successful in
your role as an Electronic Return Originator (ERO).
    • Volunteer e-file Administrator Guide (Publication 3189): This
      product is designed to be used by VITA/TCE volunteers. It is             Beginning in filing
      intended for use in conjunction with TaxWise® software, however,         season 2012, VITA/
      the information is useful to know no matter what software you use.       TCE partners are
    • Handbook for Authorized IRS e-file providers and Individual              not required to retain
      Income Tax Returns (Publication 1345) and Modernized                     Form 8879, IRS e-file
      e-File (MeF) Guide for Software Developers and Transmitters              Signature Authorization.
      (Publication 4164): These publications provide important
      information for Authorized IRS e-file Providers of Individual Income
      Tax Returns, including information regarding return submission,
      record keeping requirements, payment options, and refunds.
These publications are available for download at on the
Forms and Publication page.

Modernized e-File
The Modernized e-File (MeF) system is a replacement of the legacy
IRS tax return filing technology with a modernized, Internet-based
electronic filing platform. This transaction-based system allows tax return
originators to transmit returns electronically to the IRS in real-time,
improving turnaround times.
IRS began transitioning Form 1040 Series to the MeF platform with the
2010 filing season. In January 2012 the third and final phase will be
implemented. Most all VITA/TCE tax returns qualify for MeF filing.
MeF also allows prior year returns to be filed electronically, with some
limitations. See Prior Year Returns section for more information.
For more information on MeF go to (keyword: MeF).

                                                                              Partner Resource Package    23
          EFIN Application                                      request through the end of the calendar year. The
          To participate in electronic filing you must apply    records that require retention are:
          to become an ERO and receive an Electronic                • Copies of IRS e-file consent disclosure
          Filing Identification Number (EFIN). An EFIN is             forms for taxpayers who signed using an
          required to electronically transmit Federal tax             electronic signature;
          returns and to order software. To obtain an EFIN          • Signed copies of use or disclosure consent
          you must complete the Form 8633, Application                notices
          to Participate in the IRS e-file Program, via the         • A completed copy of the electronic portion
          internet at (keyword: e-services for            of all tax returns that can be readily and
          tax professionals).                                         accurately converted into an electronic
          For more detailed information on becoming an                transmission that the IRS can process; and
          IRS ERO and how to complete the Form 8633                 • The acknowledgement file for IRS
          refer to Publication 3189.                                  accepted returns.

          IRS Provided Tax Preparation                          EROs may electronically image and store all
          Software                                              paper records they are required to retain for
          SPEC currently offers two versions of tax             IRS e-file. The storage system must satisfy the
          preparation software: TaxWise® Desktop (CD            requirements of Revenue Procedure 97-22.
          Version) which is loaded to the users computers/      Note: Effective tax year 2011, VITA/TCE
          servers or TaxWise® Online (TWO), a web-based         volunteers are not required to retain Forms
          application. The software ordering process is         8879, IRS e-file Signature Authorization.
          coordinated through your local SPEC Territory         These documents should be returned to the
          office and begins annually in early October with      taxpayer along with a copy of their tax return.
          receipt of the software in early December.            If you decide to retain these forms, you
          The web-based application, TWO, is the                cannot send them to the IRS for storage.
          recommended software choice if you have the
                                                                Prior Year Return Preparation
          necessary internet speed and the required
                                                                Volunteers, with the necessary reference
          equipment to run TWO smoothly. TWO does not
                                                                materials, may prepare the three previous tax
          require any software installation and maximizes
                                                                years’ returns. Every effort should be made
          data security because all tax return information is
                                                                to secure experienced (at least 2 years of
          stored with the software company rather than on
                                                                experience) volunteers for preparing prior year
          individual computers.
                                                                returns. Volunteers preparing prior year returns
          Please contact the local SPEC Office for              must be certified at the intermediate or advanced
          assistance or questions about the best software       levels (current year), however, if the level of the
          version for your sites and about placing software     return is more advanced, the preparers’ level
          orders.                                               must be comparable.

          Recordkeeping and Documentation                       MeF will allow electronic filing of prior year
          Requirements                                          returns. It accepts the current tax year and two
          As an ERO there are record retention                  prior tax years. However, since TaxWise® started
          requirements that must be met. Certain records        participating in MeF in 2010 tax year, volunteers
          must be retained and made available to the IRS        using TaxWise® software will only be able to
          upon request until the end of the calendar year       transmit prior year 2010 tax year returns during
          in which they were obtained or generated. They        the 2012 filing season. E-filing of prior year
          must be retained at the business address of the       returns is limited to the 21 forms and schedules
          Responsible Official or at a location that allows     available in Phase I of MeF deployment. For
          the Responsible Official to readily access the        more information on the forms that can be
          material during any period of time the office is      electronically filed go to the MeF home page (use
          closed, as it must be available at the time of IRS    keyword: MeF) on

Partner Resource Package     24
Resources for Prior Year Returns                       • Quality Review Checklist: Each site
   • Software: If your site uses TaxWise®                must perform a quality review on every
     desktop software the tax year’s final               prior year tax return prepared. The quality
     version of the software issued by                   review must be conducted by a volunteer
     TaxWise® will contain the federal software          that has been certified, at a minimum, the
     needed to prepare the returns. The                  intermediate level (for the current tax year).
     state returns can be downloaded on the              The previous years Intake/Interview and
     TaxWise® CD using the applicable state’s            Quality Review Sheets, Forms 13614C,
     website. If your site does not have the             can be obtained at (keyword:
     final version you may contact TaxWise®              preparing prior year returns).
     Customer Support at 1-800-411-6391
                                                       • Correct Site Identification Number
     to request a copy. You may utilize your
                                                         (SIDN): To allow sites credit for filing prior
     EFIN and Registration Code issued for
                                                         year returns, the proper defaults must
     the appropriate year or you may use
                                                         be set in the tax preparation software
     the Generic EFIN and Codes provided
                                                         to ensure prior year returns contain the
     in Publication 3189 e-file Administration
                                                         correct SIDN.
      If your site used TaxWise® Online (TWO)      Advertising Standards
      you may access the prior year software       All authorized IRS e-file providers must adhere to
      using the following URLs:                    IRS advertising standards outlined in Publication              3112, IRS e-file Applications and Participation,
                                                   and Publication 1345, Handbook for Authorized
                                                   IRS e-file Providers of Individual Income Tax
    • Reference Material: Publication 17,          Returns. Additionally, all IRS SPEC partners
      Your Federal Income Tax for Individuals,     must adhere to SPEC’s advertising policy
      Publication 4012, Volunteer Resource         regarding the use of the term “IRS-certified” to
      Guide and all Volunteer Tax Alerts must
                                                   ensure they do not misrepresent the VITA/TCE
      be available for the prior years. TaxWise
                                                   parameters and that it reflects the following:
      software includes both the Publication 17
      and Publication 4012. This is located on         • The use of the term, IRS-certified, is used
      the TaxWise CD in the Document Folder.             only as a modifier to the word, volunteer,
      Prior year quality alerts are located on           i.e., IRS-certified volunteer, and (keyword: Site Coordinator
                                                       • Any reference to income thresholds adhere
                                                         to the annual EITC eligibility amounts for
      For Prior year Publication 17 go to                families. Forms and Publication page
      and use the Previous Years link.             SPEC Partners may not alter the sequence of
                                                   the term (e.g. “volunteers certified by the IRS”)
    • Intake and Interview Sheet, Form
                                                   nor promote amounts in excess of the maximum
      13614C: A prior year Intake and Interview
      Sheet must be completed for every            EITC.
      prior year tax return to ensure taxpayer
      information did not change from year
      to year. Please contact your SPEC
      Relationship Manager if you do not have a
      copy of the Intake and Interview Sheet for
      the applicable prior years.

                                                                                 Partner Resource Package   25

Partner Resource Package   26
Reports and
Site Information for Taxpayers
SPEC Volunteer Site Information Sheet, Form 13715, provides a
consistent method of requesting and capturing accurate site information
that is then provided to taxpayers who call the IRS or go to seeking free tax assistance. It is very important the
information is accurate.
The information should be provided to your local SPEC Territory office
annually no later than December 20. This will allow SPEC to finalize
or updated the site location, hours/days of operation and services to be
provided. The information you provide will be used by the IRS telephone
assistors and the IRS website to direct taxpayers to your location for
return preparation during the filing season. If at any time site information
changes, like hours of operation, complete a revised Form 13715 and
submit it immediately to your local SPEC Office. It is essential accurate
information is provided to taxpayers seeking assistance.

Volunteer Assistance Summary Report
Volunteer Assistance Summary Report, Form 13206, reports to the                 VITA/TCE Site
local SPEC Territory Office critical information related to the volunteers      Location on
working at the VITA/TCE sites. Form 13206 or equivalent must be       
completed by the 3rd business day after the end of the month. All               Taxpayers visit
volunteers are added to Form 13206. This form includes a validation    (keyword:
response of Form 13615 completion.                                              vita) for site locations
The following volunteer statistical information is maintained by IRS and        and service information.
used in various reports:
    • Number of Volunteers
    • Volunteer Position
    • Date Certified
    • Volunteer Training Level attained (Basic, Intermediate, etc.)
    • Whether Volunteer works at more than one site/location involved
    • Validation of Form 13615 completion

                                                                               Partner Resource Package    27
            Oversite of VITA/TCE Sites                                 • SPEC Shopping Reviews
            You are the first line of defense in deterring               SPEC shopping reviews are intended
            wrong doing by volunteers at the sites you                   to gauge taxpayer experience and test
            sponsor. As such, it is critical you conduct                 tax law accuracy based on specific
            reviews of your sites annually. As a SPEC                    scenarios. Shopping reviews involve
            partner, you are expected to review all of the               SPEC employees posing as taxpayers
            sites you sponsor at a minimum once over a four              using a pre-defined scenario to have their
            year period. Form 6729, Site Review Sheet and                federal tax return prepared by VITA/TCE
            Form 6729C, Return Review Sheet, are available               volunteers. The result of these reviews
            for your use in conducting these reviews.                    cannot be attributed to the VITA/TCE
                                                                         program as a whole but are critical
            In addition to your reviews, SPEC conducts
                                                                         in gauging taxpayer experience and
            reviews to maintain adequate oversight of the
                                                                         provides valuable information to IRS for
            VITA/TCE program. Below is information on the
                                                                         improvement opportunities.
            type and purpose of our reviews.
                                                                       • Field Site Visits
                • Quality Statistical Sample (QSS)
                  Reviews                                                Field site visits are critical to the oversight
                                                                         of the VITA/TCE program and play an
                  SPEC conducts site and return reviews as
                                                                         integral role in improving the quality
                  part of the volunteer Return Preparation
                                                                         of service provided at volunteer sites.
                  Program – Quality Improvement Process.
                                                                         These visits are generally conducted by
                  The goal for reviewing is to ensure sites
                                                                         your relationship manager and provide
                  are operating effectively and efficiently; are
                                                                         opportunities to identify and correct
                  adhering to the Quality Site Requirements:
                                                                         problem areas or share best practices.
                  taxpayers are receiving quality service and
                  to enhance the quality of volunteer return       For more information on the types of reviews
                  preparation.                                     conducted by IRS, refer to Publication 1084.
                  These reviews are conducted on an annual
                  basis on a statistically valid number of
                  VITA/TCE sites Nationwide. The results
                  of these reviews can be extrapolated
                  to provide the accuracy of all returns
                  prepared by VITA/TCE volunteers.

Partner Resource Package     28
Initiatives and
For several years the IRS has worked with national partners, local non-
profit organizations, government agencies and other entities to develop
a Community Based Partnership model that links EITC outreach and
free tax preparation to a wide variety of asset development opportunities.
Listed below are some of IRS emerging initiatives and strategies:

Disability Initiative
The goal of the Disability Initiative is a focused effort to reach working         Research Data
taxpayers with disabilities and provide economic impact by educating               IRS-SPEC is
this segment of the population about specific tax credits and deductions,          committed to providing
free tax preparation and asset building strategies available to them. The          a wide variety of
disability strategy:                                                               research based data
     • Collaborate fully with the National Disability Institute through            and information to
       their Real Economic Impact Tour. This campaign for people with              assist partners with
       disabilities is a national initiative delivering financial education and    developing local
       tax preparation services to low-income persons with disabilities in         strategies to enhance
       more than 100 U.S. cities over the upcoming years.                          services provided to
     • Expand the reach of existing community-based coalitions in
       selected cities by targeting efforts to include national and local
       disability organizations into existing coalition efforts around
       education/outreach, free tax preparation services and asset-
       building opportunities.
     • Develop and implement unique marketing plans to educate and
       inform low-income persons with disabilities about tax credits and
       deductions they are entitled to.

Limited English Proficiency (LEP) Hispanic
The goal of this Initiative is to provide information in Spanish to increase
communication, education, awareness and services to the LEP
community. The SPEC LEP Hispanic Initiative has the following four
strategic goals:
     • Align SPEC service content delivery and resources with LEP
       Hispanic taxpayer and partner needs.
     • Enhance relationships with existing community coalitions and
       establish new partnerships to support LEP programs.
     • Increase the effectiveness of communication with the LEP
       Hispanic population.
     • Improve and expand education and awareness activities to
       influence behavior regarding voluntary tax compliance.

                                                                                  Partner Resource Package   29
            Native American/Tribal                               Rural Strategy
            The Native American/Tribal initiative is a           The goal of this initiative is to build alliances with
            network of Native American financial institutions,   workgroups that have extensive preexisting rural
            community development corporations, financial        infrastructures and knowledge to reach rural
            education providers, and Native American             populations. The Rural Initiative was developed
            advocates joined to enhance the capacity of          to provide outreach, free tax return preparation
            native American tribes, communities and people       (VITA) and financial literacy training to selected
            to access, control, create, leverage, utilize, and   areas of low income rural America. The strategy
            retain financial assets. Through 1st Nations-        utilizes identification of, collaboration with and
            Oweesta, the Native Financial Education              building alliances with groups that have extensive
            Coalition (NFEC) designed an initiative to provide   pre-existing rural infrastructures as a means of
            tools to Native American communities to launch       reaching even the most rural population.
            local campaigns to increase access to EITC and
            link them with financial education and other asset
            building efforts including Individual Development

Partner Resource Package     30
IRS Grant
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance
In December 2007, Congress appropriated funds to the Internal Revenue
Service (IRS) to establish and administer a matching grant program for
community volunteer income tax assistance. This funding allowed the
IRS to provide grants to partner organizations to achieve the following
program objectives:
    • Enable the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program to
                                                                             Grant Resources
      extend services to underserved populations in hardest-to-reach
                                                                             • VITA
      areas, both urban and non-urban;
                                                                               (Publication 1101)
    • Increase the capacity to file returns electronically;                  • TCE
    • Heighten quality control;                                                (Publication 4671)
    • Enhance training of volunteers; and
                                                                               (community network)
    • Improve significantly the accuracy rate of returns prepared at VITA    •
The VITA Program uses trained volunteers to prepare basic tax returns
for low income taxpayers in both urban and non-urban locations
including persons with disabilities, non-English speaking persons, elderly
taxpayers, and Native Americans. Because the VITA grant is in support
of the VITA Program, grant recipients are required to follow existing
guidance governing VITA site operations and to file all eligible returns
electronically. IRS provides the software for filing electronically. The
Publication 1084, IRS Volunteer Site Coordinator’s Handbook, which is
available on, is a guide that is useful for existing and potential
VITA Program sponsors.

Eligibility Requirements
To be eligible for funding under the VITA Grant Program, applicants must
meet the following requirements:
     • Qualify as a non-profit organization or government entity
     • Demonstrate tax compliance with federal tax obligations
     • Provide matching funds
     • Not be debarred or suspended
     • Have an A-133 unqualified opinion or qualified opinion without
       significant deficiency when required by OMB A-133
     • File all required reports timely if a previous VITA grant or TCE
     • Maintain active registration in the Central Contractor Registration
       (CCR) system
     • Have and Dun & Bradstreet Universal Number (DUNS)

                                                                             Partner Resource Package   31
            Non-profit Organization or                               For further information refer to Publication 4671,
            Government Entity Status                                 VITA Grant Program Overview and Application
            The applicant must be classified as one of the           Package.
                                                                     Tax Counseling for the Elderly
                • A private or public non-profit organization
                                                                     The Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE)
                  that qualifies for tax exemption under
                                                                     Program offers free tax help to individuals
                  section 501 of the Internal Revenue
                                                                     who are age 60 or older. Section 163 of the
                  Code of 1986 including but not limited to
                                                                     Revenue Act of 1978, Public Law No. 95-600, 92
                  educational institutions or faith based and
                                                                     Stat. 2810, November 6, 1978, authorizes this
                  community organizations, or
                                                                     cooperative agreement. This Act authorizes the
                • A state or local government agency                 IRS to enter into agreements with private or
                  including federally recognized Native              non-governmental public non-profit agencies
                  American Tribal governments, or                    and organizations, exempt under Section 501 of
                • A regional, statewide, or local coalition          the Internal Revenue Code, which will provide
                  with one lead organization that meets one          training and technical assistance to volunteers
                  of the eligibility requirements noted above.       who provide free tax counseling and assistance
                  The lead organization filing the application       to elderly individuals in the preparation of their
                  must have a substantive role in the                federal income tax returns. This Act authorizes
                  coalition.                                         an appropriation of special funds, in the form of
                                                                     grants, to provide tax assistance to persons age
            Section 501(c)(4) organizations may apply.               60 or older. The IRS receives the funds as a line
            However, if awarded a grant, federal law                 item in the budget appropriation. The total funds
            prohibits your organization from lobbying.               are distributed to the sponsors for their expenses.
            Acceptable documentation includes one of the
                                                                     Note: If your organization is included as a
            following based on the type of entity:
                                                                     subordinate in a group exemption ruling,
                • Copy of IRS determination letter                   include the current official subordinate listing
                  recognizing organization as exempt under           approved by the central organization.
                  IRC Section 501(c);
                                                                     Note: Eligible entities may only submit one
                • Copy of letter of academic accreditation           application for consideration per grant period.
                  for college, university or other institution of
                  higher learning; or                                Eligibility Requirements
                • Letter submitted by agency or government              a) Private or public non-profit organization
                  head on its official stationery indicating it is         that qualify for tax exemption under
                  a government entity.                                     Section 501 (c) of the Internal Revenue
                                                                           Code of 1986;
            Be sure to complete block 9, Application for
            Federal Assistance, Standard Form 424 (SF                   b) Have experience in coordinating volunteer
            424), with the appropriate designation.                        programs;
            Applicants that apply on behalf of a group of               c) Operates programs that serve and assist
            organizations are responsible for ensuring all                 elderly individuals;
            participants within their coalition adhere to VITA          d) Not be a federal, state, or local
            Grant Program requirements. The applicant is                   governmental agency or organization;
            the only organization that will be given access
            to the funds if awarded. After the award is made,           e) Demonstrate tax compliance with federal
            an agreement (letter of intent or memorandum                   tax obligations;
            of understanding) is required between the VITA               f) File all required reports timely if a previous
            Grant recipient and its coalition members (sub-                 VITA grant or TCE recipient;
            recipients) to ensure adherence to program                  g) Maintain active registration in the Central
            guidelines.                                                    Contractor Registration (CCR) system;

Partner Resource Package     32
   h) Have and Dun & Bradstreet Universal Number
    i) Have an A-133 unqualified opinion or qualified
       opinion without significant deficiency when
       required by OMB A-133; and
    j) Compliant with applicable administrative
       requirements set forth in OMB Circulars.
For further information refer to Publication 1101, Tax
Counseling for the Elderly Application Package and
Guidelines for Managing a TCE Program.

                                                         Partner Resource Package   33

Partner Resource Package   34
                           IRS Certified Volunteer . . .

                                           Refer taxpayers to professional preparers
                                           for assistance (as discussed in training).


Partner Resource Package   35
    Your online resource for 
    volunteer and taxpayer  
    The Volunteer Resource Center 
    (Keyword:  Community Network)

    ●   Hot topics for volunteers and partners 
    ●   Site Coordinator’s Corner
    ●   Volunteer Tax Alerts
    ●   Volunteer Training Resources
    ●   EITC Information for Partners

    Tax Information for Individuals 
    (Keyword:  Individuals)

    ●   Where’s My Refund
    ●   EITC Assistant - Available in English and Spanish
    ●   Tax Trails for Answers to common tax questions
    ●   Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) Assistant
    ●   Interactive Tax Assistant (ITA)

        and much more!

    Your direct link to tax information


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