12/16/2016 - IRS



The Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program provides free tax help to individuals and families with low to moderate income especially those who are elderly, persons with disabilities and have English as a second language. The IRS has more than 100 sites at high schools across the country. VITA sites are often set up at local churches, schools or community centers.


The IRS partners with organizations such as the JumpStart Coalition, to engage administrators, teachers and students in the VITA program. Teachers get students to use the finance skills they learned in class to help local community members file their tax returns.

Students often train for months in preparation for the program. Teachers integrate lessons on taxes into their curriculum and students have to take and pass the VITA certification test in order to volunteer at a site in time for tax season.

Using the IRS’ interactive e-learning tool, Link and Learn, students will go through lessons that include tax topics, case studies and interview simulations. Each lesson has media icons linking to any available media concerning the subject, and includes links to Tax Facts, Assessments, Tutorials, Job Aids and the Practice Lab. Once lessons are completed students may certify at the level appropriate to their training.
Teachers have reported that it helps if the students involved with VITA program have an interest in finance, however the program can be a great experience for students without finance knowledge. Students have reported that it is a way of giving back to their community, developing “real life” skills and that the program has deepened their interest in pursuing business or accounting careers after graduation.

IRS is looking for volunteers! If teachers or students are interested in working with this program as a volunteer, but are not connected to a volunteer site just submit your contact information using the VITA/TCE Volunteer and Partner Sign Up. Your information will be forwarded to the sponsoring partners in your area for further contact.


Understanding Taxes explores the "hows and whys" of taxes in the United States. Students learn about the history of taxes and make real world applications to their financial lives. Six themes address topics such as your role as a taxpayer, and fairness in taxes. Thirty-six lesson plans include topics such as payroll taxes, your first job and tip income.

Understanding Taxes is to be considered an instructional site for teaching purposes only. The information is based on 2014 tax law. Users of this site with interest in knowledge and practice on current tax law are encouraged to access Link and Learn Taxes.


Carol Quiller
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