About a month ago, I reported that I was VITA/TCE certified (see here). I thought I'd offer an update.
VITA stands for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and TCE stands for Tax Care for the Eldery. Locally, it's administered through the United Way, but the IRS provides the training material, the software we use and some of the hardware (some laptops). The goal is to help those with low-moderate income with their taxes. We do e-filing for both federal and state (SC).
I went through a few classes (it started out as six, but after the first three, much was repitition) provided by two VITA site coordinators. The key to remember in all of this is that V stands for volunteer (as in no-pay). At the end of the classes I had a good feel for the software, a better understanding of taxes, and a little bit of information on how the process works.
I've now spent three Saturday afternoons and two Friday afternoons preparing taxes for others (still haven't done my own yet). I've probably filed taxes for over 30 people (I wish I had counted). For their privacy, I can't say a lot about them, but I will say I have been pleasantly suprised at the attitudes. No one has gotten upset at me and with only one or two exceptions, they haven't asked the government to do more for them. Most are very polite, with several of the young adults being overly polite (yes sir, no sir, thank you sir).
There has been some challenges, like the 3 year old girl who pulled the fire alarm, but there have also been some very good points, like the three young boys, around age 10, who were quietly waiting for over an hour, then helped stack chairs while someone else helped their mom. We are looking for them to come back next Saturday to help stack chairs again.
The site coordinator at one of the sites I work came in this last Saturday and announced he was late because he had been in prison. I'm sure some of the taxpayers raised an eyebrow, but he later explained he was working with Prison Fellowship Ministries, like my blog-friend Neil.
I have another two months to go, but so far, I'm enjoying providing this service to others.