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

Course Introduction

Volunteer Responsibilities

Take Reasonable Steps

As a certified volunteer, remember due diligence and take reasonable steps to ensure the tax return is correct.

  • Ask enough questions to determine if allowable expenses were incurred and that income reported is correct
  • Add all taxable income to the tax return, even if the taxpayer does not agree with you
  • If the item is questionable and/or unallowable, do not claim the deduction or credit on the tax return
  • If you are uncomfortable with the information and/or documentation provided by a taxpayer, do not prepare the tax return
  • If the taxpayer does not agree with your advice, the volunteer should not prepare the return

Additional ways to ensure tax return integrity include:

  • Verifying that all social security numbers presented by the taxpayer match the social security numbers listed on the tax return
  • Not preparing out of scope returns
  • Not preparing returns for which you have not been certified
  • Explaining to the taxpayer why the deduction or credit can or cannot be included on their return
  • Having a second certified volunteer review the completed return with the taxpayer
  • Not making changes or corrections to the tax return after the taxpayer leaves the site without notifying the taxpayer

As an IRS-certified volunteer preparer, you have the responsibility to perform adequate due diligence on EVERY return. The goal is not to prepare as many tax returns as possible, but to accurately report taxpayer income and deductions