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Volunteers provide free tax help for low-income working families and seniors in Akron and nationwide

UPublish story by Jennifer Jenkins, IRS media relations for Ohio

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Civic-minded individuals who want to help low-income workers and seniors can volunteer for training and placement at a free tax preparation site in the Greater Akron area.

AKRON, Ohio — The Internal Revenue Service is seeking new and returning volunteers to help low-income working families and seniors in Greater Akron and elsewhere prepare and file their federal income taxes during the 2014 tax return filing season.

Through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs, volunteers receive specialized training for duties as tax preparers, quality reviewers, interpreters, greeters, and more. Upon successful completion of their training, volunteers receive IRS certification and are eligible to participate in a VITA/TCE program supporting people in their local community.

No prior tax preparation experience is required to participate. Returning volunteers are welcome. Since tax laws vary from year to year, returning volunteers must undergo annual training and recertification. The training and certification process generally takes 16-20 hours for both new and returning volunteers. Most volunteer training occurs in November and December, so that volunteers are ready and able to provide free tax help from mid-January to mid-April.

During the 2013 tax filing season, the IRS partnered with the Akron Summit Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Program to provide ten free tax preparation sites. Six of the sites were traditional VITA sites where volunteers prepared returns; four of the sites were Facilitated Self Assistance (FSA) sites where taxpayers prepared their own returns under the guidance of volunteers. About 80 volunteers assisted local taxpayers with more than 2,100 tax returns, bringing more than $3.1 million in federal tax refunds to Summit and Portage County.

To learn more about becoming a volunteer, complete and email IRS Form 14310 VITA/TCE Volunteer Sign Up or email Additional information on the VITA and TCE programs can be found on the IRS website at

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