VITA e3 is a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program for schools with an emphasis on e-file, education, and volunteer experience.
Does your school have a community service requirement for graduates?
Are you looking for a way to connect tax education to the real world?
Is your school interested in giving back to your community through a community outreach effort?
Are you struggling with much-needed life skills, such as filing your tax returns?
If you answered yes to any of the questions above, IRS has the program for you! We are looking for schools to host a VITA/e-file site during the next tax-filing season. This program offers basic income tax preparation assistance for individuals of low- to moderate-income, individuals with disabilities, non-English speaking taxpayers, and the elderly within your community. Your students and other volunteers will be trained to help prepare basic tax returns electronically by working through modules on their own or by attending a classroom- like session. To learn more about this program, check out the following materials:
Slide Show: A presentation describing the VITA e3 program and its benefits to educators and students.
Brochure: A short overview of the VITA e3 program.
Booklet: A detailed description of how schools can participate in the VITA e3 program, including a timeline of next steps for becoming a VITA e3 site.
What One High School Has to Say . . .
A. J. Moore Academy in Waco, Texas, knows all about volunteering. A group of students, led by Baylor University's accounting staff, participated in the VITA Program. Over the last ten years, the program generated refunds to Waco taxpayers of over $15,249,448. A couple of years ago, A.J. Moore Academy's faculty and students moved to University High School in Waco.
University High School/A.J. Moore Academies VITA e-3 Program, Waco, TX
Look who's doing "Moore for Your Future?"
A.J. Moore Academy provides post-secondary education in engineering, business, entrepreneurship, and technology careers. Their school motto, "Moore for Your Future" is not only their motto, but has become reality for the students there that participate in the VITA Program!
Being rather unique in having students prepare the returns, the press, radio and TV have used this as public service announcements throughout a 6 county "Heart of Texas" area. To date, the program has generated refunds to Waco taxpayers of over $15,249,448; and using a statewide average of $150 charged per return by paid preparers, the program has saved Waco taxpayers over $1,308,200. After hearing of the free site on the broadcast media, taxpayers have come from over 100 miles to have their returns prepared.
The Academies' VITA Program began January 20, 2005. The Academy of Finance students were recruited and trained in the classroom over a 6 week period. The students were trained using IRS training materials and a training version of TaxWise to allow the students to become proficient at preparing income tax returns.
The site operates in the school library with the TaxWise software loaded on the school network. As the program has matured, the seniors or more experienced students at the high school act as quality reviewers; the juniors prepare returns; and the sophomores act as greeter/screeners and facilitators.
In 2008, Baylor University's accounting staff became interested in the program and certified a group of 12 students to assist as quality reviewers. By 2009, the Baylor student count jumped to 32 students and 4 professors. These more experienced students served as quality reviewers and assisted with the general site operation.
The school principal, who is in attendance every evening, is the program's leading supporter and one of the most necessary elements in the successful operation of the site. The school's IT director is another vital link in the program's success by being available during operational hours to ensure the computer equipment and printers are fully operational. Prior to the site opening each year, the principal buys T-shirts for all participating students which are green (school color) and shows "A. J. Moore SWAT Team" (SWAT-Serving Waco Area Taxpayers).
A. J. Moore Academy of Finance in Waco, Texas was named the No. 1 top performing student-operated VITA site in America for 2011. In 2014, student volunteers at the University High School/A.J. Moore Academies VITA site prepared more than 2,200 returns and its VITA customers received $4.4 million in tax refunds, including $1.6 million in EITC.
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