Returning Volunteer Tax Preparer Training
The resources linked to from this page will guide you through the certification process if you are a returning volunteer tax counselor. Most of these steps are self-guided. If you are a returning volunteer but have limited experience, you may want to consider taking the New Volunteer Training.
All returning volunteer training will be held online this year and will be largely self-paced and independently guided. There will not be any required scheduled classes besides the Home Stretch sessions with your district in January.
The steps to becoming an IRS-certified Tax Preparer can be found below on this page or in the Returning Volunteer Learning Map. The Learning Map also includes a “cheat sheet” to keep track of all of your usernames and passwords.
Additional Required Training for AARP Tax-Aide Volunteers
Volunteers that are serving in the AARP Tax-Aide program may need to complete additional LMS training through the AARP portal and practice problems. Check in with your District Coordinator about these additional requirements.
How to Get Help
All volunteers will be able to get help by calling a Training Support Hotline and attending regularly schedule Office Hours over Zoom. Learn more about these training support resources here.
Returning Volunteers: Steps to Certification
How to Access
Timeline and Time Commitment
|1. (Required) Email your District Coordinator that you will volunteer again this year.
||View the “Who is my District Coordinator?” page. This page will give your district (is assigned) and your District Coordinator’s name and email.||As soon as possible.
|Your District Coordinator may have changed this year.|
|2. (Required) Register for, study, and pass the first two IRS Exams (Volunteer Standards of Conduct and Intake/Interview & Quality Review)
||2021 IRS Pub 6744 Available Now||Available now
|It is highly recommended that you review the questions in the Pub 6744 and prepare your answers before taking the exams on Link & Learn.|
|3. (Required) Watch “What’s New” Information from the IRS, DOR, and TaxSlayer||“What’s New” Syllabus||2+ hours.||These materials will be updated as Oregon and federal tax law changes and TaxSlayer changes become available. Be sure to check back here as tax season grows closer in case more content has been added or if old content has been changed. Any changes will be marked in the syllabus as they are made.|
|4. (Recommended) Complete 4 TY2020 and 1 TY2021 refresher cases in TaxSlayer Practice Lab||Refresher Syllabus
Access TaxSlayer Practice Lab (Password = TRAINPROWEB)
Recommended to complete before taking the Advanced Exam.
|The Ames, Bautista, Cushing, and Dodge cases are in tax year 2020. The tax year 2021 Grant case is now available and will require the 2021 version of TaxSlayer Practice Lab.|
|5. (Required) Register for, study, and pass IRS Advanced Exam and send Volunteer Agreement to District Coordinator||2021 IRS Pub 6744 Available Now||Available now
|It is highly recommended that you review the questions in the Pub 6744 and prepare your answers before taking the exams on Link & Learn. Review these tips on a few tricky questions on this year’s Advanced exam as well as a TaxSlayer bug for one of the scenarios.|
|6. (Recommended) Assess your tax law knowledge and fill in the gaps||Self-Assessment
See course syllabi below.
|30 minutes||This new self-assessment will test your tax knowledge and recommend additional courses (below) to take based on your responses.|
|7. (Required) Register for and complete Home Stretch course with your District Team||Hover over green “Register for Classes” button at the top of this page. Select “Home Stretch Course Schedule” and register.||~4 hours.
Registration will be open in December.
Home Stretch sessions will be held in January.
|Registration is now available. Make sure you register for a session with your district. If you are not sure which district you are in, visit the “Who is my District Coordinator?” page. If your Home Stretch session has passed, check with your District Coordinator.|
Returning Volunteers: Optional Courses
The following are optional online, self-paced courses that you can take to expand your tax law knowledge and improve your skills as a volunteer tax preparer. If you are unsure which courses you should take, consider taking this self-assessment which will recommend courses based on your responses to tax law questions.
Tax Law and TaxSlayer Refresher
This is an optional course for returning volunteer tax counselors who want to refresh their knowledge before taking the IRS Advanced Test to become certified for Tax Year 2021. In this course you will complete 5 problems that will cover most of the issues encountered on that test. These are the same problems used in the New Volunteer Training Course. The first 4 cases are from TY2020, and the fifth (Grant) will be prepared in TY2021.
There’s A Tool For That – Resource Refresher
This is an optional course recommended for returning volunteer tax counselors to refresh their knowledge of available resources.
Self Employment and Gig Work
This is an optional class for returning volunteers who want to update their skills around Self Employment and the Gig Economy.
Families Are Complicated
An optional course that covers filing status, dependents & credits in complex tax households.
Education Credits and Benefits
This is an optional course for returning volunteer tax counselors who want to refresh their knowledge before the tax season. In this course you will complete 3 problems that will highlight the key aspects of Education Credits/Benefits
Interviewing (Those Probing Questions)
This is an optional course for volunteer tax counselors, especially returning volunteers who want to improve their interviewing skills.
This course will help you recognize Medicaid waiver payments so that you can treat them correctly in the tax return and produce the best tax result.
All About ITINs
This is an optional course that will cover taxpayers with Individual Tax Identification Numbers, or ITINs.