VITA

Teens Volunteering for VITA Wise Beyond Their Years

As you’re all aware, the teen years are a confusing time. Trying to fit in, keeping the parents off your back and trying to determine what exactly is going with your body is enough to drive you to underage drinking.

Some junior and seniors at a high school in Monticello, New York have been brave enough to add tax preparation to the mix volunteering for the IRS’s VITA program. “It’s a little confusing, but you get the hang of it,” said Marcus Daniels-Penn, told the Journal. Of course not everyone participating has such a optimistic view of the experience as Adam Kaiser, who was struggling with determining who can be claimed as a dependents, noticed something most people don’t realize until long after they leave the quad, “The government can’t do anything simple,” he said.

Tax Preparers Straight Out of ‘Glee’ [WSJ]

Vast Improvement in Volunteer-prepared Tax Returns Proves That the TIGTA’s Nagging Pays Off

Last year the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration came down pretty hard on volunteer tax preparers, noting that 41% of the returns contained errors. As is the IG’s wont, they scolded the IRS to improve this shameless display by volunteers and made some suggestions to help them suck less.

And it worked! Ninety percent of the tax returns prepared by volunteers were accurate thus earning praise from the IG:

Ninety percent of the 39 tax returns volunteers prepared for TIGTA auditors were prepared correctly, a sharp increase from the 59 percent accuracy rate reported by TIGTA in its 2009 review. TIGTA attributed the improvement to an increase in volunteers’ use of the IRS’s Intake/Interview and Quality Review Sheet (Form 13614-C), improved training, and enhanced oversight. Only 5 percent of the 39 tax returns were prepared without use of the Form 13164-C, versus 33 percent in TIGTA’s 2008 Filing Season review, and 22 percent in its 2009 Filing Season review.

“This report is a positive indication of the good work that the IRS is doing for America’s taxpayers,” stated J. Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. “I commend the IRS on the progress it has made in helping volunteers accurately fulfill the very important task they assumed.”

This isn’t the first time that the TIGTA has managed to give the IRS credit for doing a decent job. Last month J. Russell George managed to give tepid kudos to the Service for providing satisfactory service at assistance centers but also reminded everyone that a mind-numbingly complex government bureaucracy can always get better. They’re blowing off the deaf and mute, after all.

ACORN Stonewalled on VITA Funds but Questions Remain

Vita_logo.gifYesterday the IRS released the list of recipients of $8 million in matching grants for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. Many of you participated in this fine program back when you were focused on developing a drinking problem, which may explain the high error rate but that’s neither here nor there.
Of the 360 applications submitted for funds, one notable organization that was DEEE-NIED was ACORN.
Despite the grave dancing that is likely going on in certain corners of the media, is anyone asking the important questions here? Including but certainly not limited to:
• Who will real sex workers depend on for tax advice?
• What non-profit organization will the two “investigators” entrap next?
• Will Glenn Beck finally calm down? He has appendicitis for crissakes.
Questions worth noting. If you have answers to any of these, kindly enlighten us in the comments (without suffering from an aneurysm).
IRS Leaves ACORN Off VITA Grant List [Web CPA]
IRS Awards $8 Million in Grants to 147 Organizations for Tax Prep Assistance — $0 to ACORN [TaxProf Blog]
No IRS VITA “Seed” Money for ACORN [Tick Marks]