Internal Revenue Service United States Department of the Treasury
Level Basic Advanced Military International

Course Introduction

Volunteer Responsibilities

Volunteer Protection Act

VITA/TCE volunteers are not considered professional tax preparers; therefore, you are not legally liable under federal law for the return you prepare. This means you cannot accept payment of any kind from the taxpayer for preparing a federal tax return, or for providing any other tax-related assistance. Some employees of a program sponsor may receive compensation. Volunteer preparers who receive over $500 should seek legal advice on liability.

Volunteers are protected by the federal Volunteer Protection Act of 1997, as long as all of the following conditions are true:

  • You are acting within the scope of your volunteer responsibilities
  • You only prepare returns that are within your level of certification
  • Ensure the returns you prepare follow the Intake/Interview and Quality Review process
  • Any harm was not caused by willful, criminal, reckless, grossly negligent, or conscious, flagrantly indifferent acts.