Thursday, January 22, 2009

Where to get Pub 4491-W 2008 Exercise Answers?

The answers to the exercises (not the certification test) can be obtained by going to the website.   A copy of it, more  instructions on the practice lab, and changes/additions to training material are available at

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Do I need CTEC Certification to become a VITA Volunteer?

The answer is NO, you do not need to be CTEC Certified in order to do taxes as a VITA Volunteer.

On the other hand, being certified to do prepare and file taxes does not qualify you to become a paid tax preparer in California. Requirements for becoming CTEC Certified and becoming a paid preparer can be found at

Even if you are qualified to do taxes for money, you need to pass your certification as a VITA Volunteer for each season to do taxes.   No IFs, ANDs, BUTs or WHAT IFs!!  If you want to prepare taxes as a VITA Volunteer, you MUST currently be certified.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

TaxWise Collaboration

Andy sent the following message to the webmaster at


I am working with our local folks to configure TaxWise in the most reliable and easy to maintain manner. I was wondering whether anyone at your organization has implemented TaxWise using Windows Terminal Services… it would certainly simplify the process and allow use of additional computers with ease.

Do you or someone you know have any insight into this?


Andy xxxxx


Dear Andy,
  1. No, we haven't tried using TaxWise with Windows Terminal Services, and do not know if it is supported. That is something that TaxWise support should be able to answer.
  2. There are cases when a networked version of TaxWise can be installed on a central server which exports the volume on which TaxWise is installed, and client computers can then connect to it across a LAN. In fact, in one of the sites, that is the arrangement for a network that is set up and taken apart each session.
  3. At one time, I personally set up a network behind a firewall to which people could log in and see the screen but the Taxwise ran as a client machine on the internal LAN. I have used logmein successfully for this purpose.
  4. Another option for what you are trying to do (which I think is being able to connect remotely) is to use TaxWise Online so that users can use the UTS servers to save their returns. However, this has all the advantages and disadvantages of a browser based application.

Hope this helps. Further comments may be added to the end of this posting and will be answered.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Problems logging in to LinkLearn website

Valerie sent the following message to the webmaster of

I received the following e-mail from your office:
Valerie xxxxx,

Your account has been created in the LMS.

Login: Kxxxxxx3
Password: Sxxxxxx

Please save this message.

I am still unable to log in. What do I need to do?

Valerie xxxxx

  1. Valerie, sorry to hear you are having troubles. I can sense the frustration you are having, but unfortunately the link and learn site is not under the control of the webmaster. was put up because the webmaster was having the kinds of difficulties you and others are having when trying to volunteer!
  2. However, just to check it out, I tried logging in with your login and password at 11:42 pm Pacific Time on Jan 7, 2009, and was successful.
  3. One thing to check would be to make sure that your web browser has javascript enables and has cookies enabled. That should be fairly easy to do.
  4. If you still cannot get it to work, here are some places to try getting help:

a) find your local IRS office and contact the SPEC Relationship manager or the Territory manager and ask for help
b) call the IRS Toll-Free, 1-800-829-1040 Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday, 7:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. your local time (Alaska & Hawaii follow Pacific Time)
c) if you need help in locating the local IRS office, you may be able to get help from the search engine at
d) a final option is to fill in the registration form at as best as you can, and put in the problems you are having in the comment section. That information will get e-mailed to VITA headquarters and then forwarded to the appropriate Territory Manager.

Hope this helps! If there are any further questions, or if you find the answer, please add it to the comments at the end of the post. You do not need to provide an email address to post if you do not wish to do so.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Re: VITA Intro and Intermediate course

This was an email message received by the webmaster of

I did the beginers course self study using thetext books and completed the test. Should ISend in the hardcopy for evaluation or could Iuse the online test. What I'm asking are theOnline test questions the same as the textbook questions? It is a very interesting course. I Especially enjoy the book keeping work.

  1. The online test questions are close to and similar to the paper test but not the same.
  2. You can do either one. However, if you sign up online and take the exam on-line you can get the results right away, and get a certificate printout right away and have yourself registered is some database. Not clear who has access to the database since so far the local IRS Relationship Manager does not seems to have access to it, and volunteers have to take their certifications to the Site Coordinator anyway.
  3. If you do the paper test and send it in, then you need to figure out where to send it and wait for the grade. This works best if you are in classroom training and take a test at the end.
  4. Hope this answers your questions. If you need to continue this conversation, you can add to this post by clicking on the Comment below this message.

question about the VITA online certification tests

Email from Angela..

I found this e-mail address at after having called the IRS and having had no luck finding an answer to this question. I'm a 2nd year VITA volunteer who passed the basic online test last year when I was an Americorps volunteer in Burlington, VT. This year I'm in North Carolina and would like to volunteer again. However, I can't sign in to retrieve the test results from last year because I forgot the login information. The program tells me to enter in my business e-mail address so as to reset my password, but that e-mail account no longer exists. What should I do, or whom should I contact?

Thank you for any help you can provide,
Angela xxxxx

  1. Congratulations on wanting to volunteer again. Your effort and enthusiasm is what makes it worthwhile maintaining the web.
  2. Yet, it seems almost impossible to find out information about what to do and who to contact with questions even from the IRS.
  3. The practical solution is to re-register again with your current email and new password and not worry about last year's results - which would keep track of your scores only, and not the test answers.
  4. If it is important to get access to your previous year's results, then it may be necessary to pursue this further. Some avenues to try include the Territory Manager in your area or the Relationship Manager.