Meet LA's Newest VITA Volunteer Tax Preparers 

We know that tax season can be a scary and confusing time. Scams are more common than ever, and many people are afraid of making a mistake on their taxes and finding themselves in trouble with the IRS. This fear is magnified for individuals with complicated financial situations, prior brushes with the law, or who are undocumented. 

Over the last month, 70 volunteers attended full-day trainings at United Way of Greater Los Angeles, learning tax law fundamentals in order to give back to our communities in a powerful way: providing low-income, working families a safe, reliable resource for filing their taxes, and claiming the full tax credits they are owed. Trainings were supported in part by City National Bank and Koreatown Youth & Community Center, with additional support from El Centro de Ayuda and the IRS. 

Having gotten trained and certified, our cohort of 2019 VITA Tax Preparers is uniquely positioned to go out into the community and help working families who made less than $56,000 in 2018. They’ll help them, on average, put $5,500 back in their pockets, through the Earned Income Tax Credit (or, EITC), the California EITC, their normal tax return, and saving on the cost of filing their taxes. That’s major rent money, money for food, resources to send children to college. While there are lots of ways to volunteer, very few have this kind of powerful Social Return on Investment. 

"United Way shows me opportunities that I never knew about, so I can actually help in the community," says Sandy Paullin, a Sr. Benefits Admin for Woodward HRT. "I feel fantastic that I passed the VITA Basic Test and am certified to start volunteering my services right away. What an accomplishment, I never thought that a one-day course would get me to be certified." 

We also commend AIG, who this year sent six volunteers to get trained. "AIG is dedicated to giving back to the community," says Isis Rivera, Analyst, Investor Services. "Personally, as a native Angeleno, it’s great to see an organization focused on uplifting local communities. I’m excited and looking forward to helping families get some money back into their pockets. ." 

Missed this year's trainings? 

VITA Tax Preparation Events across LA County also need Intake Managers, who welcome families and review their preliminary paperwork, and Foreign Language Interpreters, who provide translation services for non-English-speaking individuals and families during the tax preparation process. Keep reading for instructions on how to get certified! 

  • Intake Managers 
    • Requires 20 minutes of training and certification 
    • Click here for step-by-step certification and training instructions 
      • Click here to register as a volunteer with the IRS & login to Certification 
      • Take the Volunteer Standards of Conduct Training and Test (10 questions, multiple-choice) 
      • Take the Intake/Interview & Quality Review Exam (10 questions, multiple-choice) 
      • Sign the Form 13615, Volunteer Agreement 
    • Click here to search for Tax Prep Events by zip code 

  • Foreign Language Interpreters 
    • Requires 10 minute of training and certification, and foreign language fluency 
    • High need for volunteers fluent in Spanish, Tagalog, Korean, Mandarin, and Vietnamese 
    • Click here for step-by-step certification and training instructions 
      • Click here to register as a volunteer with the IRS & login to Certification 
      • Take the Volunteer Standards of Conduct Training and Test (10 questions, multiple-choice) 
      • Sign the Form 13615, Volunteer Agreement 
    • Click here to search for Tax Prep Events by zip code 

Want to get certified as a VITA Tax Preparer in 2020? Contact United Way of Greater Los Angeles' Engagement Manager Brian Rosenbaum at [email protected] to get on the interest list.