Volunteer Tax Return Preparers
ALL VOLUNTEERS, whether or not they prepare tax returns, must take and pass the Volunteer Standards of Conduct test.
VOLUNTEERS WHO WANT TO PREPARE TAX RETURNS must also take and pass:
- The Intake/Interview and Quality Review exam
- The certification exam at the Basic and/or Advanced Level (there is no need to pass the Basic before taking the Advanced Exam) We encourage everyone to take the Advanced Exam
All exams are accessible through Link and Learn on the IRS’ website. Exams are open-book, open-resource. An 80% passing grade is required and you are allowed two chances to take the exam. You will need a training kit to study and prepare for the exam. Training materials are provided FREE of charge.
Live Training Sessions Are Available in January at two locations:
(1) Leeward Community College:
Training Dates (8:00 – a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Room ED-201)
Part 1: Sat. January 19
Part 2: Sat. January 26
(2) Chaminade University:
Training Dates (8:30 – a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Room 9, Kieffer Hall)
Part 1: Sat. January 12
You can self-study for the certification exam at Link and Learn which is accessible through the IRS’ website. You will need a training kit (free) if you decide on this option. Please contact us for instructions as to where and how to pick up a training kit.
Sites are encouraged to accept clients by appointment only (as opposed to permitting walk-ins). The individual who will be scheduling appointments must understand what kind of documents taxpayers are required to bring with them to their appointment and the types of returns that a free tax assistance site can prepare (the IRS does not permit free tax assistance sites to prepare certain types of returns). Instructions for appointment schedulers are available through the Program Director.
Every client is required to complete the IRS’ Intake/Interview Form (Form 13614-C) and is requested to complete this Program’s survey form. Intake Specialists will make sure that the proper forms are completed and will check the taxpayer’s documents to confirm that all information on the Intake/Interview Form is accurate. Instructions for Intake/Specialists are available through the Program Director.
MULTI-LINGUAL and ASL (American Sign Language) INTERPRETERS: Certain sites can benefit from volunteers who are fluent in another language or proficient in ASL. Please contact the Program Director.
SCHEDULING: We do not require a minimum amount of hours of volunteer participation and we try to work with a volunteer’s personal schedule. Therefore, if a site is open twice a week and you can only volunteer once a week or once every other week, that would be fine. All we ask is that you show up on the days that you agreed to volunteer because the number of appointments accepted at most sites depend on the number of volunteers available to prepare returns.
LIABILITY: Volunteers are protected from liability by the federal Volunteer Protection Act (Public Law 105–19) and the State’s volunteer protection laws found in Hawaii Revised Statutes 662D. Basically, those laws protect the volunteer from liability for “errors and omissions” (mistakes, even negligence, as long as it’s not gross negligence). Volunteers are not protected if they commit a crime such as fraud or theft while serving as volunteers.
In addition, all tax returns are deemed prepared by the Taxpayer, not the volunteer.
Hawaii Tax Help and Financial Empowerment Solutions does not accept any liability or responsibility for any accidents or personal injuries that may occur while volunteers are working at or traveling to and from a tax site.