What to expect when visiting a VITA/TCE site
If you have an appointment at a site, be on time (or a little early). If you are unable to make your appointment, contact the site to let them know as early as possible. Sites that take appointments fill up quickly, and are often fully booked. If you are late for an appointment, the site may not be able to take you when you arrive, and may not be able to schedule an alternate time for you.
Walk-in sites operate on a first-come, first-served basis and will have a waiting list if all the volunteers are busy with other taxpayers. Wait times at walk-in sites can be lengthy, especially at peak times. Contact your local site for information on the best time to arrive to minimize your wait.
Whether a site takes appointments or walk-ins, the basic process will be the same:
First, you will be asked to complete an Intake and Interview sheet. The information on this sheet gives the preparer information required to complete your return, and also helps them ensure that your return falls within the scope of VITA/TCE. This form should be filled out completely and accurately to ensure that your return is prepared correctly.
You will sit with the volunteer while they prepare your return so you can answer any questions they have. This also gives you the opportunity to ask questions about your return.
After your return is completed, it goes through a Quality Review process. This helps to ensure that the return is error-free when it is filed. If the site is busy, you may have to wait until a Quality Reviewer is available.
Once your return has been reviewed, a volunteer will go over your Federal and State returns with you, and give you copies. At this time, you have a final opportunity to ask questions regarding your return before signing an authorization form that allows the site to e-file your return for you. By signing the authorization form, you are attesting that you are responsible for your tax return and all the information on it, and that you agree with the return that has been prepared for you. At this point, you are finished at the site.
After your return is e-filed, it will be processed by the IRS computers. If there are any errors when the file is processed – such as a misspelled name – the site coordinator will contact you to resolve the error, and then re-file the return.