Last year, 2,296 Arizona residents across the state gave back to their communities as volunteers providing free tax services.  These volunteers prepared more than 86,000 federal and State of Arizona individual income tax returns through the IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and AARP’s Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs.

“The IRS and its partners are looking for volunteers who are interested in taking a little time to learn about taxes and helping others by preparing federal and state income tax returns for free,” said Ann Picchione, program manager - West Valley. “Volunteers are certified to prepare simple, non-business tax returns for people 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 tax volunteer and bilingual volunteers are particularly needed. Volunteers can help in various capacities such as:

•  Tax Return Preparer

•  Site Administrator/Coordinator

•  Greeter/Screener

•  Interpreter

•  Computer specialist or trouble shooter

•  Quality Reviewer

Site coordinators may also prepare returns. Volunteers will be provided with free training materials on how to prepare basic individual income tax returns and how to file returns electronically. Instruction will cover both federal and state individual income tax returns.

Training is scheduled for December and January.  New volunteers generally attend tax class in a traditional setting to obtain their volunteer certification. Training covers all the areas needed to prepare simple income tax returns accurately for individuals. Once certified, volunteers contribute three to four hours or more per week of their time between the months of February and April at an assigned site.  Last year, due to the dedication and hard work by tax volunteers, Arizona families who took advantage of free tax help received more than $95 million in federal refunds through the VITA/TCE programs.

To become a tax volunteer in the West Valley, or if you have any questions about the program, contact Ann Picchione, Program Manager – West Valley, at 480-271-9653 or apicchione@turnanewleaf.org.

More information about the IRS volunteer tax preparation programs is available at www.IRS.gov, keywords ‘Tax Volunteer.’