How to get that much needed first experience….volunteer for VITA

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Guest Blogger: Kathy Zolton, CPA, Senior Lecturer of Accounting at UTD 

VITA is the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program coordinated by the IRS and then implemented by partners in the community to provide free income tax return preparation for low income families.  Tax returns are prepared by certified volunteers.  The VITA program provides free tax preparation assistance to those that need it the most – low income and elderly tax payers.

But why would someone consider volunteering for VITA?  If you are a seasoned tax professional or consider yourself “not a tax person” – how can this help you?

Here are my TOP FIVE REASONS to volunteer with VITA (based on my working with students involved with VITA, along with sound bites from over the semesters).

  1. You like to meet people and hear their stories.

“There is always a story behind each tax return. Tax returns are always about people, family and life.  Never, ever judge a person by mere observation. Listen and talk.”

  1. You need a chance to learn in a safe environment with others reviewing your work because you are not perfect all of the time.

“Immersed in my self-confidence that I could finish all tax returns within eight minutes, my site manager told me that I failed my fifth tax return.”

  1. You want to improve your professional communication skills.

“This VITA experience polished my communication skills, not only on interacting with clients but also getting along with other volunteers as well as site managers.”

  1. You want to realize the value that CPAs bring to the business world.

“Professionalism is more than a responsibility, not only to the client, but also to the job.”

  1. You want to use your accounting skills to make a difference.

“As a taxation volunteer, I am happy to help file taxes for taxpayers. At the same time, I learned how to use tax knowledge. It is a win-win situation.”

“Learning taxation was just the master of the theory, but attending VITA made me put theory into practice. Moreover, I had a better understanding of the benefits that the US government provides to its citizens. “

“I don’t know what it is about doing taxes that I like so much. Maybe it is the look on people’s faces when I tell them what they are getting back or helping educate people on what kind of deduction they can take, either way I really loved it.”

Training for VITA Volunteers take place in December and January.  After you complete training, you must complete the online IRS VITA Volunteer Certification Exams.  Then you are ready to volunteer and make a difference in not only a community member’s life, but in yours as well!

Questions regarding VITA?  Look for your community’s VITA partner? Information is available at

https://www.irs.gov/individuals/free-tax-return-preparation-for-you-by-volunteers.

About txcpa2b

The Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants (TSCPA) is a nonprofit, voluntary, professional organization representing Texas CPAs. TSCPA has 20 local chapters statewide and has 27,000 members. The Society is committed to serving the public interest with programs that advance the highest standards of ethics and practice within the CPA profession. TXCPA2B is a blog written by Texas students in pursuit of the CPA certificate. The views expressed here are those of the authors and not necessarily held by TSCPA or our members.
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One Response to How to get that much needed first experience….volunteer for VITA

  1. I have had many students volunteer and this has allowed them to develop their professional skills in amazing ways. I remember one of our students even received a job from connections with another VITA volunteer. Plus, it feels great to give to the community! Thanks, Professor Zolton for sharing!

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