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This morning I had my first tax training session with the local VITA/AARP folks (we were snowed out yesterday). Three more sessions this week, some computer training next week, and then they turn me loose on a bunch of unsuspecting senior citizens and low-income clients. I think I'm really going to enjoy this - heard lots of stories from experienced counselors about how much this means to the people we help, how relieved they are to get taxes done, etc. I was struck by the fact that many volunteers have been doing this for a long time - they keep coming back, year after year. The local coordinator has been doing it for 25 years, in spite of the fact that she's a CPA and doubtless has a lot of stuff going on at this time of year with paying clients.

Anyway, thanks to Phil Marti for talking this up. I may make occasional posts on this board as training progresses, and especially as I start to work with living, breathing customers.

Lorenzo
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Best of luck to you. You will find it an extremely rewarding experience. I do volunteer tax prep with the elderly, and many of those folks don't have a clue about taxes. Maybe they should, but they don't. When you think how difficult it is to do your own taxes, just think how impossible it would be for many low income/elderly folks. Most people are focused on all the tax cheats, but my clientele are usually the ones being cheated because of lack of information. It has been a real eye opener for me............a whole nuther world from MF.

Sumap10
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lorenzo,

Thanks for the post. I for one would be interested in updates if time permits you. I'm interested in following in your footsteps.

Your's too, Phil.

Thanks for your good works.
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I also, would like to hear updates and experiences. Based on comments here I considered looking into being a VITA volunteer but the laws of inertia persisted (Bodies at rest tend to stay at rest) and I suspect it is now too late to get started but maybe next year.
To anyone: Do they tend to have training sites in nearby areas (obviously depends on where I am starting from) or am I likely to have to travel some to get to the training?

Bob
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Anyway, thanks to Phil Marti for talking this up.

Hey, thank you for volunteering. I hope you find it as rewarding as I do.

I may make occasional posts on this board as training progresses, and especially as I start to work with living, breathing customers.

I just mailed my test yesterday (I do self-inflicted training), and there were a couple of cases that just drove me nuts. Of course, I was messing up something really simple in each case, but it took me forever to find the error. Holler if I can be of any help.

Phil
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Do they tend to have training sites in nearby areas (obviously depends on where I am starting from) or am I likely to have to travel some to get to the training?

There are usually lots of training options, and you shouldn't have to go too far. You can call 1-800-829-1040 and ask for the name and number of your area's VITA/TCE coordinator. That person could give you some information (and also take your name and address for next year).

Phil

...making a note to nag-I-mean-remind CABob next year
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The phone number is probably the best choice to find local VITA training. I was unsuccessful at online searches to find a local VITA training.

I also considered volunteering but did not find the information in time and decided to take CERT (community emergency training) instead this year. At least next year I will have 1 less tax return because the investment club I was in dissolved.

Debra
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Hi Lorenzo,

We start our prep courses on Jan 13. I am an AARP tax aid, but we get the same courses, I guess. The books all say IRS Tax aid on them.

I also find it a rewarding experience. I help on fridays at the senior center. Phil got me started last year. Most of the people that I worked with last year were widow ladies. They had very little income and needed the help. I was told that we probably save them each seventy five to one hundred dollars by helping them avoid commercial services.

Here in PA we also complete state Income Tax forms. There are also some rental rebate and low cost prescription program forms for low income tax payers.

I hope you enjoy it.

Regards
Pat

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we probably save them each seventy five to one hundred dollars by helping them avoid commercial services.

But we also saved hundreds for the gentleman whose preparer didn't deduct his SS from his state return here in Ohio for the past two years. Filed two amended returns for a great big grin. We also saved hundreds for the 86-year old man taking care of his 84-yr old Alzheimer wife who didn't know he could deduct out of pocket medical expenses. So, you can see that there is a healthy selfish satisfaction in this volunteer effort.

Sumap10

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The phone number is probably the best choice to find local VITA training. I was unsuccessful at online searches to find a local VITA training.

I too am an AARP Tax-Aide volunteer, and have found it to be very rewarding. You can find a nearby site, and/or sign up to be a volunteer at the www.aarp.org/taxaide site. VITA, as I understand it, works in settings such as college campuses, some libraries, and military installations. TCE usually works out of neighborhood senior centers or community centers, and focuses on taxpayers 60 and over (but also serves younger taxpayers).

Karl Pearson in CA

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