• WisBusiness

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Richard Chandler: Play an important role this tax season as a VITA volunteer


By Richard Chandler
Tax season is around the corner and now is the time to think about getting involved with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly/Tax-Aide (TCE) programs.

VITA and TCE volunteers help ensure that Wisconsin's seniors, lower-income taxpayers, veterans and military personnel have access to free tax preparation services by knowledgeable individuals at more than 200 sites across the state. For volunteers, it is also an excellent opportunity to get federal and state income tax training and improve their own tax preparation skills.

The VITA Program offers free tax help to people who make $50,000 or less and need assistance preparing their own tax returns. The TCE Program offers free tax help for everyone, with priority assistance to people who are 60 years of age or older, and specializes in questions about pensions and retirement issues unique to seniors. These programs helped over 60,000 individuals in Wisconsin during the last tax season.

Wisconsin needs volunteers to participate in these important programs. They are open to anyone, and may be of particular interest to those who like math or have a background in accounting, finance or economics. Volunteers must learn federal income tax law through the IRS Link & Learn program, which can be found online at http://apps.irs.gov/app/vita/, as well as complete state income tax training conducted by individual site coordinators. Training usually takes place in January and February and the site coordinator determines dates and times.

I am always impressed by how dedicated the volunteers at VITA and TCE/Tax-Aide sites are to helping the citizens of Wisconsin. Their time and assistance really does make a difference in our communities.

Take the time to become a volunteer for the VITA and TCE programs and know that your efforts will benefit neighbors and community members who need your help. For more information about VITA and TCE programs, please call 608-266-2772.

Thank you for considering volunteering.

-- Chandler is Wisconsin's revenue secretary. The Wisconsin Department of Revenue helps formulate state tax policy, administers the state's major tax laws, collects individual and business taxes, and provides state financial aid to local governments.

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