Volunteer

About Us: The IRS first founded the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program at the University of California-Monterey in 1971, and since then, VITA has grown nationwide to assist millions of individuals file their income tax returns. An Internal Revenue Service (IRS) sponsored program. The Lincoln Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax preparation to Lincoln community members. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals. Lincoln started preparing free tax returns through the UNL College of Law and the Lincoln Public Libraries in 1982. The Lincoln EITC Coalition was organized in 2003, and in 2015 UNL began leading the Coalition.

Join this legacy of service by volunteering with us!

Why VITA?

At the Lincoln EITC Coalition, we believe that the VITA Tax Preparation program is a great way to give back to our community. By serving with us, volunteers are able to:
  • Engage hardworking Lincoln families directly
  • Build relationships with our public libraries and universities as well as other nonprofits
  • Gain first hand experience with filing tax returns, using tax preparation software and learning basic tax law
  • Join a community of volunteers that are committed to ending poverty in Lincoln
  • Respond to a community need through concrete action

Steps to join us as a VITA volunteer:

Through the VITA program, you can choose to volunteer as a greeter, tax preparer, or translator.
  • Register to Volunteer
  • Pick up materials for certification in tax preparation from the Center for Civic Engagement, located in room 222 of the Nebraska Union located at 14th and R Street.
  • Tax Law Trainings are offered throughout November and December.
  • Mandatory Training is required on tax preparation software, this takes place in January.
  • Begin working at one of our Lincoln sites as an official VITA program volunteer
If you have any questions about becoming a volunteer, please contact the UNL Center for Civic Engagement at 402-472-9638.

FAQs

  • What is the time commitment?
        All volunteers are encouraged to find a site time and location that works for them, so they can serve throughout tax season. We ask that volunteers meet with site coordinators to confirm their schedule.
  • What certifications can I get?
        All greeters will be required to complete the Standard Code of Conduct and Intake Interview certifications. All tax preparers will have the opportunity to complete these, as well as the Advanced Tax Certification. All of these certifications are awarded from the IRS.
  • How does volunteering help me?
        Volunteering with the Lincoln VITA Coalition gives you an opportunity to have a positive impact on the hard-working families of Lincoln by bringing money back into the community. You will also become IRS tax certified and gain valuable experience preparing different tax returns at no cost to yourself or those you serve.
  • Is there an age requirement or other official requirements?
        We welcome anyone in the community to volunteer.
  • What skills should I have?
        Basic Computer Skills
        Ability to communicate well with clients
        Patience
        Bilingual speakers are always welcome
  • What if I don’t know how to prepare taxes?
        Don’t worry, we provide all of the training you need to learn. We assist all of our volunteers in working through the training material, the certification process, and their first day at the tax site. Our site coordinators are there to help you every step of the way!
  • What are my liabilities as a volunteer tax preparer?
        As an IRS-Certified volunteer, everyone at the tax site is expected to act ethically at all times. Per the Volunteer agreement provided by the IRS: “The Volunteer Protection Act generally protects unpaid volunteers from liability for acts or omissions that occur while acting within the scope of their responsibilities at the time of the act or omission. It provides no protection for harm caused by willful or criminal misconduct, gross negligence, reckless misconduct, or a conscious, flagrant indifference to the rights or safety of the individual harmed by the volunteer.” As a volunteer with VITA, you are working in a team environment, every return is quality reviewed, and site coordinators are available for questions and concerns at the tax site.

Schedule

We are currently working on finalizing the volunteer schedule! Check back soon for more information!


Current Needs

Greeter

  • Manage intake forms
  • Welcome clients and their families
  • Manage Volunteer Sign In
  • Schedule Appointments
  • Organize Paperwork
  • Inform Clients about necessary documents

Site Coordinator

  • Ensure Quality Control of returns
  • Provide tax law assistance to tax preparers
  • Manage site set-up and tear down
  • Schedule Volunteers
  • Oversee Site
  • Organize Tax Documents
  • Transmit Returns

Tax Preparer

  • Become IRS Certified
  • Prepare Tax Returns for individuals and families
  • Attention to Detail

Interpreter

  • Serve as an interpreter between client and tax preparer
  • Explain tax forms to client
  • All languages excepted, Languages needed: Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, ASL, Vietnamese