LLS | Externships | VITA Program

Spring 2012 VITA
Information and Enrollment

Vita enrollment is for Spring only.

Professor Barbara Blanco, Barbara.Blanco@lls.edu

Administrative Assistant Camille Toomer, Camille.Toomer@lls.edu

Spring 2012 VITA Information and Enrollment


                 The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program is a tax return preparation course Loyola runs in conjunction with the Internal Revenue Service and the California Office of the State Controller. Returns are usually prepared for students, elderly taxpayers and working taxpayers who would otherwise have to pay private services up to $85 or more for tax preparation services. The basic features of the one unit course are:


  • The basic course is a one-unit externship course. You may enroll in a two unit course, but you will be working exclusively with the Office of the California State Controller if you choose the two unit option.


  • Completion of either the one or two unit courses automatically satisfies the pro bono  requirement for 2D or 3E students;


  • ENROLLMENT PREFERENCE: There will be room in the course for 80 students in Spring, 2012. Only first time takers may enroll; no repeat enrollment for either course is allowed. Preference in enrollment goes first to 3E students, and then to 2D students.


  • The course number for the one unit course is 5N3-01.  Enroll as you would for any other class through the SWS system. The course number for the two unit course is 5N3-03. Enroll as you would for any other class through the SWS system.


  • The one unit course involves preparing for and completing basic tax preparation tests in IRS materials (we will have a videotaped preparation course for you posted to the VITA TWEN page to assist you completing your tests), attending the mandatory training class in January, and providing 25 tax preparation service hours at any VITA site that will accept your certification or is otherwise affiliated or approved by Loyola.


  • The two unit course involves passing the basic test, attending the mandatory Saturday training meeting, and providing 77 tax preparation or service hours at the Office of the State Controller (the gleaming white tower located at 7th and Figueroa – the Loyola shuttle takes you right there and will pick you up in front of the building). The first vita unit involves doing your training at home, completing your certifications, attending the mandatory training on Saturday and completing 25 hours of service. For the second unit, you must complete 52 hours of service, just like all other off campus externs.


  • MANDATORY CLASS MEETING: All VITA students must attend a mandatory training class on Saturday, January 21, 2012 from 10 am to 2 pm in Robinson Courtroom. Don’t enroll in thecourse if you can’t attend the training class (please contact Professor Blanco (Barbara.Blanco@lls.edu) if you cannot attend the training class for religious reasons). The meeting will address course requirements, ethics, professionalism, use of TaxWise software, and intake and return packaging procedures. A training professional from the Office of the State Controller will walk you through several hypothetical tax returns.


  • PICK UP YOUR TRAINING MATERIALS IN GRAPHICS BY DEC. 1:  Your IRS training materials will refer you to their “Link and Learn” training web site. You must complete your training course, print out your certifications of completion and bring them to the class on Jan 21 where they will be collected. VITA students must complete the Basic and Intermediate portion of the training (Parts I and II). Remember, before you take the test you can be walked through it by watching the training link posted on the VITA TWEN page.


  • TAXWISE SOFTWARE: The IRS materials should also reference you to a site where you can begin to become familiar with the TaxWise software that you will be using for tax preparation services. The more familiar you become with the software, the more understandable the training session will be at the mandatory meeting. We may be able to provide you with sample software; if we can do so, it will be included with the materials you pick up in the Graphics Department.


  • SERVICE DELIVERY DATES AND LOCATIONS: The one unit course requires 25 hours of service delivery (usually in 4-6 hours shifts) and the two unit course requires 77 hours of service delivery (25 + 52, also usually in 4-6 hour shifts).Sites are still being identified, but they will include the Office of the State Controller that is accessible via the Loyola shuttle. Weekday and evening sites will be arranged. Additional information will be posted as it is available.


  • OFFICE OF THE STATE CONTROLLER “MEGA-VITA DAYS”: The State Controller has already scheduled some “Mega-VITA Days” where you can get your hours in all day. We’ll have more details on specifics at the training meeting, but if you would like to plan ahead, here are the Mega-VITA Saturdays available to you:


  • Bakersfield, Saturday, February 25
  • South Los Angeles, Saturday, March 3
  • San Fernando Valley, Saturday, March 17
  • Indio, Saturday, March 24
  • Lynwood, Saturday, March 31


  • NO HALF OR PART TIME SESSIONS: You must be prepared to stay for the entire session when you are providing services.


  • SIGN UPS FOR SERVICES: Signups will be online through TWEN. The procedure for site signups will be addressed at the mandatory meeting. You may not sign up for a service shift unless your training certifications have been turned in at the mandatory training meeting or to the Externship Office, Founders Hall 240.


  • NO SIGNUP CANCELLATIONS: Sign up carefully! We need to rely on you to be in attendance to assist taxpayers who will also rely on you to be there. We might let you cancel if you have the swine flu or the bird flu or whatever exotic flu is going around, but not for much else.


  • TIME SHEETS: Time sheets will be provided at the mandatory class and are always posted on the VITA TWEN page. All time sheets are due in the Externship Office no later than April 30, 2012 to complete the course.


  • SITES OTHER THAN LOYOLA SPONSORED SITES:  If you are able to find a VITA preparation site other than the sites provided by Loyola, and if the site agrees to accept you as a TaxWise certified preparer, you are welcome to provide your services hours at a site that you locate. We will try to provide you with a reference sheet for VITA sites that may be more convenient for you.


  • INVOLUNTARY WITHDRAWAL FROM VITA: If you fail to attend the mandatory training or if you fail to submit your certification of TaxWise course completion at the training class on Jan. 21, you agree that you may be involuntarily withdrawn from the VITA course for the one unit of credit.


                                                                                                                last updated 9/13/11