Become an NYC Free Tax Prep Volunteer
Tax season can be an important moment for many New Yorkers. They may rely on their tax refund this year to make ends meet during these tough economic times. Many will have questions about how to file their taxes this year and how changes in their income might affect their refund. You can help them file their taxes for free from the safety of their homes—or at limited in-person locations—so they avoid spending $150-$200 or more to prepare their taxes and keep their whole refund.
That's what an NYC Free Tax Prep volunteer does. We provide trusted, professional filing at no cost for thousands of New Yorkers with low to moderate incomes each year so that they keep every penny of their refund. A service that’s only possible thanks to NYC Free Tax Prep volunteers.
As a volunteer preparer, you can have a real impact on New Yorkers’ lives. With just a few hours a week, you will help about five families complete their tax returns and claim valuable tax credits. By the end of the season, you’ll complete about 50 tax returns, helping your neighbors claim more than $80,000 in refunds and tax preparation fee savings.
Get started in just 3 steps:
- Get TRAINED
- Get CERTIFIED
- Start MAKING A DIFFERENCE
Want to get trained to be a volunteer? New York Cares is offering information sessions and training opportunities. You can also train on your own by visiting IRS Link & Learn Taxes e-Learning and following these step-by-step instructions.
Find NYC Free Tax Prep volunteer opportunities at New York Cares or NYC Service.
What do I receive as a volunteer?
This is a short-term commitment that makes a big difference. As an NYC Free Tax Prep volunteer, you will join a team of passionate, supportive, and diverse New Yorkers. You will gain knowledge about basic tax law and earn IRS certification to serve as a volunteer preparer. This all happens while you are assisting people who need help and are truly grateful for your work.
Can I volunteer from home?
Yes. Volunteers can choose to only do so from the comfort of their own home. The NYC Free Tax Prep organization that you volunteer with will inform you of any security protocols that you need to follow to protect client data.
If I volunteer in-person, what health and safety protocols are in place?
Filers and volunteers must follow New York State health guidelines, including wearing a mask and social distancing appropriately during each visit. In addition, organizations may conduct health screenings and take additional precautions such as requiring appointments, using drop-off service, and other public health procedures as outlined by New York State health guidance.
What will I do as a volunteer?
Most NYC Free Tax Prep volunteers become volunteer preparers. After completing tax law training and successfully passing the certification exam, you will use standard IRS forms and electronic filing software to provide free tax return preparation for eligible filers. Other volunteers may serve as:
- greeters, who screen taxpayers to determine the type of assistance they need and confirm they have the necessary documentation to complete their tax returns; or
- interpreters, who provide free language interpretation to help filers who want to speak with a volunteer in their preferred language.
Training and support are provided for all roles. As a volunteer, you’ll never be left alone.
What are the requirements to volunteer?
You do not need tax experience to become an NYC Free Tax Prep volunteer. Most volunteers are not tax professionals, but are students, young professionals, and retirees. Before you start volunteering, you will receive training from excellent instructors who teach new volunteers how to complete basic tax returns for the most common scenarios seen at NYC Free Tax Prep sites. Other general requirements for volunteering are:
- being comfortable working with people;
- completing the IRS volunteer certification; and
- serving as a regular volunteer each week or every other week.
I’m an Enrolled Agent. Can I get CE credits for volunteering?
Yes. Volunteering with the IRS VITA/TCE program through NYC Free Tax Prep is a great way for Enrolled Agents to earn IRS Continuing Education (CE) credits. Attorneys and Certified Public Accountants may also qualify for CE credits depending on their state licensing requirements or National Boards of Standards. Learn more at irs.gov
I have additional questions.