Volunteer Income Tax Assistance [VITA] at Berkeley – DeCal
This De-Cal is designed to prepare students to take the IRS sponsored test that will
certify students to prepare tax returns at the Basic and Intermediate Level with a
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance [VITA] Site. While students are encouraged to
volunteer at any site nationwide, this course is specifically designed for students to
participate in the UC Berkeley VITA Site that will take place during the Spring semester.
We will cover the IRS online certification path [found at: www.irs.gov/app/vita] and
students will be instructed to E-File tax returns using Taxwise.
Who Should Take This Course?
Anyone interested in learning to prepare tax returns.
Anyone interested in a career in tax law, accounting, or a related field.
Anyone looking to volunteer their skills to the low-income Berkeley community.
Please note that this course should not be taken if you have already taken UGBA 121
[Federal Income Tax Accounting]. The material is similar, but will not go into as much
detail. The de-cal is for the purposes of becoming certified to prepare basic and
intermediate tax returns only.
What is the VITA Organization?
The VITA Program offers free tax help to low- to moderate-income (generally, $40,000
and below) people who cannot prepare their own tax returns. Certified volunteers
sponsored by various organizations receive training to help prepare basic tax returns in
communities across the country. The United Way of the Bay Area is currently
sponsoring UC Berkeley VITA; their website can be found at: http://uwba.org/eks/.
Grading will be determined on two things: Attendance and the final test. Absences will
only be excused if previously arranged, except in the case of an emergency. More than 2
absences will result in a N/P. A passing score on the final test is also required. However,
as you are encouraged to use all the resources available to you while preparing actual
returns [i.e. guidebooks, online information, flow charts, etc.] these materials will be
provided for you during the final exam.
Fall 2008 Syllabus:
Week 1 [09/03]: Introduction & Administrative Guidelines
Week 2 [09/10]: Personal & Dependency Exemptions
Week 3 [09/17]: Filing Status & Who Must File
Week 4 [09/24]: Income I
Taxable and Nontaxable Income
Where to Report Income
Week 5 [10/01]: Income II
Dividends and Corporate Distributions
Other Income Topics
Week 6 [10/08]: Deductions & Credits I
Standard vs. Itemized Deductions
Earned Income Credit
Child Tax Credit
Credit for Child and Dependent Care Expenses
Week 7 [10/15]: Credits II
Credits for the Elderly of the Disabled
Miscellaneous Tax Credits
Week 8 [10/22]: Self-Employment & Pension Income
State and Local Refunds and Alimony
Pensions with Taxable Amount Determined
Week 9 [10/29]: Adjustments & IRAs
Week 10 [11/05]: E-Filing & Review for Test
Week 11 [11/19]: Review for Test
Week 12 [11/26]: Final Test