Information for Prospective VITA Volunteers:
Thank you for your interest in Yale VITA! We’re an entirely student-run volunteer organization (including Law, SOM, and graduate school students) that provides free tax preparation to low-income taxpayers. Last year, we reached $2.36 million in refunds to over 1,600 New Haven residents. Without our help, most of these returns would never be filed at all.
To let us know that you’re interested and get on the panlist, email firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com and fill out this survey. We’re so excited to have you join us! Our goal is to exceed $2.5 million in returns during the 2019 season.
We work in the New Haven Free Public Library (133 Elm Street, two blocks from Old Campus) during tax season (from January 29th to April 17th). We have shifts from 3:45-5:45pm and 5:45-7:45pm Monday through Thursday; shifts from 10:45am-12:45pm, 12:45-2:45pm, and 2:45-4:45pm on Fridays; and shifts from 10:30am-12:30pm and 12:30pm-2:30pm on Saturdays.
Volunteer Positions: You can choose to study and take the exam to become an IRS-certified basic preparer, which will take a few hours tops. You can also volunteer as an intake coordinator (IC) and help us greet clients and photocopy their documents and forms (being an intake coordinator doesn’t require studying, just around 30 minutes to certify). We're currently recruiting volunteers for both positions, especially ICs.
If you missed our lessons in the fall and/or are interested in studying on your own, take a look at our lessons: (2018-19 lessons coming soon! 2017-18 linked below)
Don’t worry if they’re overwhelming or confusing at first! The exam is open-book. (You can also attend our training boot camp in January, more details to come!). Most importantly, once tax season starts, everything will make sense very quickly. You’ll be paired with an experienced preparer until you feel absolutely comfortable being on your own. And, each shift has at least one Site Coordinator, who is there to help you 24/7.
We ask new volunteers to commit to the same two-hour shift each week (though you’re welcome to do another shift!). We’ll send out a scheduling form during Shopping Period, so that you’ll have a shift that works for you. (You can email our panlist if you need to swap shifts.)
When you're ready to certify (as Basic Preparer, Advanced Preparer, or Intake Coordinator), proceed to the following link. Please carefully read and follow all of the instructions in order. The certification exam for preparers can be quite tedious, so give yourself as much time as you need, and work slowly and thoughtfully (you wouldn't want to fail and have to take it again!). Ideally, we ask all volunteers to be certified by the start of the spring term (mid-January 2019). The hard deadline to certify is by the start of the tax season.
Please let us (firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com) know if you have any questions throughout the process! We’ll do our best to reply promptly.
We’re so happy to have you on board!
Jasmine Liu ‘20 and Paul Banegura ‘20