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Question: What are the features that will
help those taking the test online?
home page will look slightly different this year. There
are tabs for each exam level instead of
displaying them all on one page. Just click on the
Basic tab to start the Basic exam. After the Basic
exam, continue with your certification path.
Certification procedures remain the same.
home page of the test on Link & Learn Taxes there is
a Practice Test. The link is
located at the top of the page. This will be the second
year for a Practice Test on Link & Learn
Taxes. The purpose is to help new users with online
testing and navigation. You can download the scenarios
and answer the questions online from the Practice Test.
The results have no bearing on the student’s
feature is a back button that will take you to the
previous question so you can change answers.
At the end
of the test there are resource links and helpful
explanations for incorrect test answers. These are
excellent tools that will help foster learning.
This is the
second year for The Electronic Tax Software Practice
Lab, web-based tax preparation software, which is
available for completing test scenarios. Use the
tutorial at “Getting Started” in the Practice Lab and
the blue tabs in the Volunteer Resource Guide for tips
Question: How do I take the VITA/TCE
certification test online?
Answer: After accessing Link & Learn
Taxes at www.irs.gov, you have two choices.
you complete the courses for which you wish to be
certified and then complete the applicable test(s) for
If you are
an experienced volunteer you can select the returning
student path and then take the applicable test(s) for
need to complete the self registration for a login
and password for the online test. Safeguard your login and
password and keep it for future reference. Even
though you registered last year you must
register again. You can use the same login and password
as last year or make up a new one.
should contact their site coordinator or Instructor for
access to the Practice Lab.
Question: On Link & Learn Taxes do I have to
take the Basic and Intermediate courses before taking
any of the other three courses?
instructions for taking the courses online and
the instructions for certification are different.
An explanation is provided below. (See Question 4 for
the exception for Puerto Rico.)
Instructions for taking the
On Link &
Learn Taxes each course is self-contained.
If you select the Basic tab it includes just the Basic
course. If you select the Intermediate tab it includes
Intermediate and Basic course lessons. If you select the
Advanced tab it includes Basic, Intermediate, and
Advanced lessons. The Military course includes Basic,
Intermediate, and Military lessons, The International
course includes Basic, Intermediate and International
for Certification online
certification (testing) - you must pass the Basic
test, next the Intermediate test, and then proceed
forward with any of the other three tests; Advanced,
Military or International.
after completing the Advanced course a
person who chooses to be certified in Advanced must
first achieve a minimum passing score of 80% on the
Basic test, and then achieve a passing score of 80% on
the Intermediate test to proceed to the Advanced test.
In addition, a minimum score of 80% on the Advanced test
is needed for the Advanced certification.
What is the
exception for Puerto Rico?
Answer: The Puerto Rico courses on Link &
Learn are not self-contained. Students should
complete the Basic course before completing the two
levels in the Puerto Rico course. For certification:
Students who want to be certified for the Puerto Rico
courses must achieve a passing score on the Basic test
before the student can proceed to the Level I Puerto
Rico test. Next students can proceed to Level II Puerto
Rico test. To complete certification for each level, the
student needs to achieve a minimum score of 80% on each
Puerto Rico exam.
Can I use
references to complete the test?
The test is
an open book test. You can use forms, instructions and
other reference material to take the test. You should
complete the test on your own. It is a disservice to
the taxpayers you assist if you gain assistance from
Question: What tax year does the test use
for answers to the questions?
Answer: For the paper test and the online
test the answers will only be based on 2009 tax
rates, deductions, and exemptions. It is very important
that volunteers have the experience and become familiar
with the tax year for the returns they will be preparing
at VITA/TCE sites. There are links to draft 2009
tax forms, EIC and Tax tables, and Publication 4012,
included in the online test. Draft 2009 tax forms
are also included in the paper test/retest booklet.
Question: What if I do not pass a test on my
Answer: On the paper test there is a test
and retest. For the online test you are allowed a total
of 2 attempts at certification for each test. For the
online test the questions are randomized from the pool
of questions from the paper test and retest. The result
is a different test on each attempt.
Question: Are there tools to help me with
Answer: There is a Practice Test to help
with navigation on the test home page. In addition there
are remediation links available next to each question
and explanations for wrong answers at the end of an
online test. The remediation links refer back to the
topic in Link & Learn Taxes.
Question: Why are there test questions that
ask for information from reference materials?
One of the
main components of the quality improvement strategy at
VITA/TCE sites is to encourage volunteers to use the
Volunteer Resource Guide and other reference tools.
Having volunteers refer to these references during
certification reinforces this important focus.
Question: How much time does it take to
complete the test?
time it takes for each certification test will depend on
the person’s training and experience. In general Basic
takes approximately 45 minutes; Intermediate takes
approximately 1 hour; Advanced 45 minutes; Military and
International each take approximately 1.5 hours.
What if I
am unable to complete an online test in one session?
Answer: The online system will bookmark
where you stop in an online test. When you log back into
the online test it will show “in progress” for the test
you were taking. Just click on that link to continue
with the test.
Question: What if I need to change an answer
on the online test?
online test there is the “back” button so you can
change your answer to a question. At the end of the
test there will be a message display of answers and any
questions that have not been answered. You will need to
complete all questions and then hit the submit key. Use
the HELP link at the top of the
screen which provides test tips that will avoid input
Question: What documentation can I obtain if
I certify through the online test with Link & Learn
successfully complete a test you can print a course
certificate. You will need to load Adobe Acrobat Reader
7.0 or later on your computer.
Volunteer Agreement available in the online test?
Answer: Yes, the Volunteer Agreement is
available. Once you successfully complete a test online
you can print or save a copy of your Volunteer
Agreement. There is a link on the test home page in the
upper right hand corner of the screen. You will need to
load Adobe Acrobat Reader 7.0 or later on your
Question: What is the passing score for
Answer: The passing score for the test for
each course is 80%.
Why is it
important to use the updated Publication 4012, Volunteer
Resource Guide for Tax Year 2009?
test questions that require you to research in
Publication 4012, Volunteer Resource Guide for Tax
Year 2009. The 2009 Publication 4012 is available
in your training materials.
Question: What if I forget my password on the
login screen for the online test?
Answer: At the bottom of the online test
login screen click the “forgot your password” function
to reset your password. Be sure to enter your email
address correctly during the registration process in
order that you can receive e-mail notifications about
your login or password.