Help your community while enhancing your accounting skills

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program

If you are a junior, senior or graduate accounting student at Gies, you can become a tax preparer or tax reviewer with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. It’s a great way to make a difference in the community and gain real-world tax experience that employers are looking for.

How to participate in the VITA program

Interested in participating? It’s easy to get involved. Just register for ACCY 449: Tax in Action for the spring semester. Tax preparers receive 1 credit hour, and reviewers will receive 2 credit hours. In addition to learning from experienced Gies faculty, this course enables you to:

  • make a difference in the lives of taxpayers by helping them access tax refunds due to them without paying for expensive tax preparation services
  • improve your communication skills
  • develop your critical thinking and technical skills

What you will do as a VITA participant

As a VITA participant, you will work with a team of fellow students to prepare tax returns. You will have the opportunity to work directly with taxpayers in this rewarding experience. And, a group of Gies faculty will mentor you through the process as you develop your skills.

This is an experiential learning course. There is an initial certification process but once completed, there are no exams, homework, or projects. You will learn by doing real tax returns for real taxpayers.

What is the time commitment

At the beginning of the semester all students will participate in an asynchronous training program and must pass several certification exams administered by the IRS. When training is completed, the remainder of the semester will consist of preparing tax returns. Specific responsibilities are as follows:

  • Preparers – prepare assigned tax returns each week, meet with faculty or the assigned reviewer when questions arise, meet with the assigned reviewer each week to debrief
  • Reviewers – lead a team of preparers to complete tax returns by the prescribed deadline, meet with assigned preparers as needed when questions arise during the preparation process, meet with assigned preparers each week to debrief, meet with faculty each week to obtain final approval of the team’s tax returns
  • All students – attend intake/quality review sessions and work with taxpayers in person to obtain information needed to prepare the tax return and to review finished tax returns with the taxpayer

Total time commitment varies from week to week just as with any class but on average, preparers should anticipate 3-5 hours per week and reviewers should anticipate 4-6 hours per week.

Questions? Contact VITA Coordinator at