Tax Preparer/Reviewer Training Steps/Path

Please follow each of the steps below, in turn, following and
completing the links where indicated. Once you have completed
these tasks you will be certified and prepared as a VITA return
1. Review Introductory PowerPoint describing our operations.
2. Create an account on Vita Central. Follow this getting started
guide or this short video for instructions on how to create an
account. For “role” select 01-Vita Volunteer, unless you are a
site coordinator. Keep track of your login and password.
3. On VITA Central, go to Certification Paths and select Basic or
Advanced tab. You do NOT need to complete the Basic test
to take Advanced. The tests are stand alone. We
recommend Advanced for anyone who has volunteered
before or who has a background in tax. At this point, you
have two choices:
a. Review the volunteer standards of conduct (VSOC)
PowerPoint on VITA Central.
b. Click this link for hard copy (.pdf document) of the
certification material for the VSOC and the 10 multiple
choice questions. The questions start on page 26 of this
.pdf. The questions on the test will consist of 10 of the 20
test and retest questions.
4. You will then access the VSOC certification test on VITA
Central and take the test. Log into the Certification Test
area. You must get at least 8 questions correct. You may
only take test twice, so restudy material if you do not pass
the first time
5. Click on this link for a hard copy certification material for the
Basic or Advanced tax preparer certification. You must take
and pass either the Basic test (recommended for new
volunteers) OR the Advanced test (required for reviewers
and recommended for returning volunteers). You must get
at least 80% of the questions correct. You may only take test
twice, so contact Gina Torielli or Melissa Gilchrist for
assistance if you do not pass the first time. A print copy of
the tests is available here. We recommend you work
through the relevant test and retest on the print copy, note
your answers, then complete the test online. Note, online
questions will come from either the printed test or retest,
but will be questions will only come from one of those tests.
6. IRS has online course modules for all certification tests on
Vita Central for learning the substantive tax law you are
likely to see on returns we prepare. If you are unfamiliar
with the EITC, filing status, the various child care and
educational credits and deductions you should review the IRS
courses. There are also hardcopy materials that are very
helpful. Publication 4012 has flowcharts and checklists for
common topics. You likely will use this publication a lot for
the test and also on the VITA site. Contact Amanda Reel if
you would like hard copy of Pub 4012 and the test booklet.
7. There are two ways to practice: (a) through the IRS's practice
lab (which is easier to access but does not allow you to
practice on Michigan returns); or (b) on the actual Taxwise
software in the training mode. Both are described, but we
recommend option b.
a. Click here for the IRS Practice Lab To access the practice lab
enter the password “learntwo” (case sensitive). You will be
prompted to create an account (not the same as your IRS
certification test account.) We have prepared a step-bystep guide for using this software, here.
b. Instructions for accessing TaxWise online training lab:
i. Log in to
ii. Our site ID is 2736072.
iii. Your username is your last name plus your first initial.
Thus, if your name is John Smith, your username is
iv. Your initial password will be your username. When
you login for the first time, you will be asked to select
a new password. Please remember this password – if
you forget, you can be locked out of your account.
v. When you are logged onto training mode you will see
a green background.
vi. Amanda can give you unique social security numbers
to use to open a new return (so you don’t get an error
vii. You can prepare Michigan and federal tax returns in
this training area.
viii. We have prepared a step by step guide to using this
software, which is available here.
8. We also have a packet of Michigan documents that you may
use to prepare State returns for some of the scenarios. You
will save time doing federal and state returns together, and
recording your answers on the Michigan Certification Test.
9. Review the Intake and Quality Review .pdf on VITA Central or
by clicking this link – there is no test, but this helps you
perform your greeter tasks. You will see the Intake and
Quality Review Training on the homepage BEFORE you log in
to VITA Central. You must review this prior to your first shift.
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10. On VITA Central, under Certification Tests, check the box
on the top right to electronically sign your VSC agreement.
11. Print out your VSOC Agreement (not your certificate of
completion) and email a copy of it to Amanda Reel. Bring the
original and your photo ID to your first volunteer shift.
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12. Review the Michigan training materials, if you are
unfamiliar with Michigan income tax, the property tax credit
or the home heating credit.
13. Take the Michigan certification test. Click here for the test.
14. Sign up for volunteer shifts here.