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Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) volunteers provide FREE Income Tax Preparation Assistance to low-Income, elderly, disabled and limited English speaking people.  Volunteers are trained and certified by the IRS.  This website is set up to direct potential and returning volunteers to the information that will help to get them trained and assigned to various sites.

In Santa Clara County, Ca, volunteers get FREE classroom training on Saturdays in January at the San Jose IRS Office, and certification by the IRS after satisfactorily completing an open book exam.  Additional classroom training is provided by Catholic Charities and the United Way.

The definition of low-income changes from year to year and from site to site, and for 2008 (i.e. 2007 Tax Season) it was approximately $42,000 for each return, although some sites take that to mean $21,000 for an individual taxpayer.  

The depth and intensity of training VITA Volunteer Tax Preparers is less than that for paid preparers.  Issues faced by VITA volunteers are generally different from issues faced by paid preparers.  Depending  on the level of certification, volunteers are taught to correctly identify filing status, and to prepare returns with wages, tips, interest, dividends, unearned income, social security, retirement income, and self-employed income for Schedule C-EZ.  Filling in Schedules C, D, and E are not part of the training or requirement for VITA volunteers, but a few sites are able to help with such returns.

 

History:

This website was launched on January 16, 2003 as http://www.vita-irs.org and maintained by a volunteer for volunteers and volunteer coordinators of the VITA program.   It was since renamed http://www.vita-volunteers.org, and supported in part by sponsored links and advertisements.

This website provided information and communication for VITA volunteers and site coordinators.  It focused on the area known as San Jose Territory, roughly the area between Santa Clara and Kern Counties.  As of May 1, 2006 it covered Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, San Benito, Modesto, Tuolumne, Stanislaus, Merced and Mariposa Counties.   The range was limited by the personal resources of the person maintaining this website,  and the sphere of influence of the  IRA VITA coordinator for San Jose and Modesto.

While the goal of the website was to reach a broad audience, practical considerations limited us to focus on Santa Clara County in California as of December 2007.  The primary reason is that the IRS VITA Coordinator works closely with the webmaster to provide County specific information, and also provides the site URL for registration and reference.  Other Counties or Sites or cities will be profiled if the Site Coordinator from that location is willing to work with the webmaster.

On many occasions, potential volunteers from outside Santa Clara County have requested information and signed up on the Santa Clara County Online Registration list.  Since it is not possible to provide information from outside the County, an inquiry form for such volunteers has available, and the information and query is forwarded to the relevant IRS department.

While designed for volunteers and coordinators, this website is also visited by taxpayers and  IRS staff.  We welcome you to this site, and hope your visit provides value to you.  Since much of the information needed by volunteers is also relevant and useful for Taxpayers served by VITA, this may explain the unintended audience.  It is with regret that the self-signed guest book feature was discontinued.  The number of entries saying "Great Site" followed by links to sites that provided information on how to enlarge various personal body parts, buy medications to enhance performance of some very pleasant friendly activities, buy genuine fake antiques and valuables, find mail-order brides, and trade your low interest rate mortgage for a higher interest rate mortgage were getting out of hand, simply drowning out genuine comments, and filling up the disk storage allocation of this domain.  For serious discussions on VITA related issues, please check out one of the blogs where you may comment.

This website is not an official website of the U.S. Government, U.S. Treasury, IRS, or the California Franchise Tax Board.   Although every attempt was made to obtain information from reliable sources, the information is not guaranteed accurate.  This site is intended for information only and offered as a public service and a courtesy.  Please contact the VITA Site coordinator or the IRS VITA Coordinator for authoritative answers to make decisions.

Contacts for VITA questions:

Santa Clara County
IRS VITA Coordinator E-Mail
SCC-IRS-VITA-coord ( at ) vita-volunteers.org
IRS VITA Coordinator E-Mail IRS-VITA-coordinator (at) vita-volunteers.org
Web site E-Mail (Only for website related issues, not for VITA site information, training or tax law questions or site locations) webmaster (at) vita-volunteers.org
Volunteer sign-up announcements http://groups.yahoo.com/group/vita-information

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Information on this site is obtained from sources considered reliable, but not guaranteed accurate. The purpose is to inform only; for advice and decisions, please refer to IRS website http://www.irs.gov. Comments regarding this web site should be directed to webmaster@vita-volunteers.org. Privacy Policy. Copyright 2003-2009  vita-volunteers.org. All rights reserved.
Last modified: 10/28/09.