My first day
On a cold, crisp January morning, a gentleman slowly walks across the room toward my table. He says hello and settles into a chair. I swallow hard; it’s my first day working with VITA — the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.
The IRS trains volunteers to provide free tax preparation services at sites around the country, including many here in Rhode Island. Although I’m prepared, I still feel nervous. During training, I learned how to complete a tax return and get the largest refund possible — but now it’s time to do it.
What to expect as a volunteer
Once you decide to volunteer, you’re assigned a VITA site and given a copy of the certification questions. Don’t be alarmed, the test questions aren’t as intimidating as they may sound. Besides, most sites offer free training to help volunteers learn the material.
Once certified, you begin helping members of the community file their tax returns.
Making a difference
I believe VITA is among the best skilled-service opportunities available in Rhode Island today. This rewarding experience allows you to familiarize yourself with the tax code, develop financial management skills, and earn a certification from the IRS — which looks great on a resume.
Over my three months as a volunteer, I was deeply impacted by the people I had the pleasure of serving; it’s satisfying to be part of something that truly benefits the community. Volunteering offers a unique opportunity to make an immediate difference, and I feel that’s exactly what I did — make a difference.