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I saw my first ad for H&R Block's tax training today, which means it's time for my first plug for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.

VITA is an IRS-sponsored program which provides free tax preparation for the poor and befuddled. A companion program, Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) emphasizes help for old people.

VITA is a terrific opportunity to learn basic tax law for free in exchange for a commitment to work once a week preparing returns during filing season. At the site I work at we start about the second week of February and promise to work one 3-4 hour shift per week. The training can be either classroom or self-inflicted.

I've been doing this for years, and it's a wonderful way to learn and keep current on tax law while giving something back to your community. Anyone who's interested can get in touch with the local VITA/TCE coordinator. You'll find contact information for your area on the contact page of

Phil Marti
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