VITA Volunteer FAQs

As a volunteer, you can commit to as much or as little time as your schedule allows. Without volunteers, VITA would be unable to operate so any time you can give is much appreciated. With over 50 VITA sites located across the Upstate, hours are available during day, evening, and weekend hours. Most VITA sites operate for only three or four hours on scheduled days, so many volunteers commit one or two days a week. Please refer to the list of United Way VITA locations and hours.
The Volunteer Protection Act of 1997 protects volunteers from liability for negligent acts they perform within the scope of their responsibilities in the organization for which they volunteer. The Act excludes conduct that is willful or criminal, grossly negligent, or reckless, or that constitutes a conscious, vagrant indifference to the rights or safety of the individual potentially harmed by the volunteer. Basically, if volunteers are performing their responsibilities under the Volunteer Standards of Conduct, they are protected.

All volunteers are asked to arrive at the VITA location 10-15 minutes before their scheduled volunteer time. When arriving, please be sure to sign in with your Site Coordinator. If volunteering at a VITA site for the first time, please remember to bring your signed Volunteer Standards of Conduct (VSoC) Agreement and a photo ID to verify your identity. Each site you volunteer at (if more than one) will need to have a copy of your signed VSoC Agreement.

When taxpayers arrive, a Greeter will distribute the Intake/Interview & Quality Review Sheet and ensure that taxpayers have the required documentation needed to complete the return. Once the taxpayer has been screened by the Greeter, you will go over the Intake/Interview & Quality Review form with the taxpayer then enter the information into the software. When completing the return, your Site Coordinator or a volunteer certified at the appropriate level will conduct a Quality Review of the return. Once the return is completed, the tax return will get printed, reviewed, and signed by the taxpayer and will be informed of their responsibility for the information on the return.

Yes, the VITA program files both federal and state tax returns. Using the provided information, the TaxSlayer software automatically completes the state return.
The average return you will prepare will be relatively simple. The VITA program has limitations on what volunteers can and cannot prepare. These “out-of-scope” returns are considered to be too complicated and will be referred to a professional tax preparer.
Taxpayer appointments will be scheduled at 1-hour intervals. Although it probably will not take you an hour to complete a return, this ensures that you have enough time for each return and are not rushed.
Volunteers will only prepare returns that are within the scope of their training. Your Site Coordinator will be certified at the Advanced Level and is able to provide assistance if needed. Please keep in mind that the Volunteer Resource Guide (Publication 4012) and Publication 17 can be used as reference materials. Please do not hesitate to ask your Site Coordinator if you are unsure about the complexity of a tax return or if something seems unusual or questionable regarding the tax return.

The VITA program has several ways of ensuring that each return is prepared correctly. Taxpayers will initially be screened by Intake Specialists (or “Greeters”) when entering the location. The Intake/Interview & Quality Review process ensures that the information is entered into the TaxSlayer software is correct. The return will then undergo the Quality Review process by your Site Coordinator or a volunteer certified at the appropriate level. Before any return is submitted, it is printed and reviewed with the taxpayer. Basically, three sets of eyes review the return before it is submitted. Also, the TaxSlayer software will not allow any tax return to be submitted if the information provided is incomplete or inconsistent.

After you submit your Volunteer Registration Form, you will be contacted to confirm contact information, availability, training dates, and site preference(s) by VITA Program staff and/or your Site Coordinator.

Please remember that all volunteers must complete the Volunteer Standards of Conduct regardless of their role in the VITA Program. If you are volunteering as a tax preparer, you must complete your certification prior to volunteering at a VITA site.

Please contact your Site Coordinator or VITA Program staff and notify them of your absence as soon as possible so that other arrangements can be made.

Generally, VITA sites will follow the County School District if closed due to inclement weather. However, certain VITA sites may open as scheduled if volunteers and Site Coordinators feel they are able to safely arrive to the VITA Site. All closings and openings are ultimately at the discretion of the VITA Program Coordinator. You will receive a email or phone notification by your Site Coordinator and/or VITA Program staff in the event of inclement weather.
Absolutely! Anyone earning under $60,000 is eligible for the VITA service!

Making a difference starts here


Making a Difference Starts Here

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