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Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)

Name of Non-Profit Agency: 
Various agencies throughout the state*
Contact: 
Bill Morrow
Senior Relationship Tax Consultant
William.A.Morrow@irs.gov
(860) 756-4652
Why is this assistance important to these clients? 
They want to be compliant, but cannot afford a paid preparer. They do not know how to prepare a tax return and need assistance. Often these clients fall prey to service providers that wish to take advantage of them.
Who are the clients? 
Low income taxpayers, persons with disabilities, elderly, and persons who do not speak English as their first language.
What legal strategies do the pro bono lawyers use to assist the clients? 
Prepare tax returns; become certified volunteers and assist with free tax preparation at a VITA site where clients may need assistance with filing multiple year tax returns.
If the pro bono attorney will be appearing for the client, in what court or other forum will that appearance be? 
(unusual) Before the Taxpayer Advocate or representing clients for Tax Audits.
What are the outcome goals of this assistance? 
Free preparation of tax returns. Save on tax preparation fees. Receive credits that they would not normally be aware of. Learn about credit repair, budget coaching, first-time homebuyer workshops and Individual Development Accounts for education and business.
What time commitment is required to do this pro bono work? 
Approximately 4 hours a week during filing season: Jan 15 - April 15.
Where is the pro bono work done? (For example, at a legal aid office or at the pro bono attorney's office.) 

At a VITA site which may be in a library, senior center, non-profit office, community center, etc.

Give a short (1-paragraph) case example: 
Taxpayers bring in their paperwork and the volunteer prepares a basic tax return.
If no How are those without full admission supervised to ensure avoidance of issues regarding unlicensed practice?: 
IRS requires that all volunteers be certified to prepare returns by successfully passing a test. Volunteers are mentored by returning volunteers and site coordinators.
If it is important that a pro bono lawyer already has particular legal background or training, please describe. 
No -- it is only important to have a desire to help.
What training is provided to pro bono lawyers doing this work? 
IRS offers free training. Face-to face classes are offered and Link and Learn is available 24/7 in the Internet. Self study is also available.
Who provides the training? 
IRS in conjunction with partners in the community.
Where is the training held? How long does the training last? 
Face-to-face classes are offered at various locations throughout the state. Link and Learn is available 24/7 on the Internet.
Who are the adverse parties (if any) for this type of work (for example, landlords, spouses, banks, government entities)? 
US Treasury – Internal Revenue Service.
At what time of day is the pro bono work done (example evening clinic)?: 
Depends upon the hours of operation of the site in which they volunteer. Most VITA sites are open in the evenings; some are open during the day.
Does this pro bono work require full admission to practice in Connecticut? 
No
Can the training be attended remotely (webinar or teleconference)? 
Via the Internet.
When is the next training (after October 1) and how often is training offered? 

Face-to-face training is usually offered in January. Link and Learn and self study materials are available the middle of November.

Category: 
This organization is a member of the Connecticut Pro Bono Network.