Each year, thousands of Pennsylvanians don't file tax returns for various reasons, including confusion or intimidation with the process. The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs aim to help those who otherwise may fall through the cracks.
Last year some 4,000 Pennsylvanians volunteered for the program, which offers tax preparation and counseling to those meeting certain criteria.
"The VITA and TCE programs are really geared toward seniors and military personnel, and folks who have low to moderate income, generally $50,000 or less," said Jennifer Jenkins, IRS spokeswoman for Ohio and west/west central Pennsylvania.
This year the IRS wants to get more volunteers. To volunteer, one doesn't have to be a certified public accountant.
"We don't require that anyone has previous tax return preparation experience. Of course, we'd love to have people familiar with tax form preparation, but training is provided, so that shouldn't stop anyone from volunteering," said Jenkins.
Trainings take place between November and January. Volunteers can serve in three capacities: return preparer, site coordinator/supervisor/manager, and greeter. Work includes anything from actual tax preparation to answering questions and distributing forms.