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Community Volunteers Needed to Provide Tax Help

October 5, 2017, 9:00 AM HST (Updated October 5, 2017, 5:56 AM) · 0 Comments
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Image courtesy AARP Foundation.

Last year, more than 600 Hawai‘i residents gave back to their communities as volunteers that provided free tax services by preparing more than 16,000 federal and state individual income tax returns through the IRS’ Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs.

“The IRS and its partners are looking for volunteers that are interested in taking a little time to learn about taxes and then helping others by preparing federal income tax returns for free,” said IRS spokesman David Tucker II. “Volunteers are certified to prepare simple tax returns for taxpayers with low-to-moderate incomes. People of all ages and backgrounds are welcome to volunteer. There is a role for anyone who is interested and wants to help give back to their community.”

Anyone can be a volunteer. Bilingual volunteers are particularly needed. Volunteers are being sought to fill the positions of return preparer, site coordinator and greeter.

Site coordinators may also prepare returns. Greeters will generally also answer simple questions and distribute forms. Volunteers are provided with training materials on how to prepare basic individual income tax returns and, in most cases, how to file them electronically. Instructions will cover both federal and Hawai‘i state tax returns.

Training is usually between November and January and volunteers generally study online with Link & Learn Taxes to obtain their volunteer certification. The Link & Learn program is an interactive course that teaches all of the basics needed to prepare simple income tax returns accurately for individuals.

Classroom training may also be available. Once certified, volunteers spend as little as three to four hours per week volunteering between the months of February and April. Last year, millions of people received assistance through nationwide VITA/TCE programs.

To volunteer, send an email to taxvolunteer@irs.gov or contact any of the following organizations:

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AARP Foundation Tax-Aide: Sign up to volunteer at www.aarp.org/taxvolunteer

 Goodwill Hawai‘i: Contact Ann Boyd at (808) 836-0313, ext. 2020 or email aboyd@higoodwill.org

Hawai‘i Tax Help & Financial Empowerment Solutions: Contact Susan at (808) 381-0881 or go to http://www.hawaiitaxhelp.org

Leeward Community College Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program: Contact Roy at (808) 455-0294 or kamida@hawaii.edu. For more details go to http://www2.hawaii.edu/~kamida

Legal Aid Society of Hawaii – Contact Wayne Keane at wayne.keawe@legalaidhawaii.org or go to www.legalaidhawaii.org

More information about the IRS volunteer tax preparation programs is available at www.IRS.gov. Search for the keywords tax volunteer.

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