My name is Joseph xxxxx and I am currently a Junior at Yeshiva University in New York. I am an accounting major with experience in the accounting field, specifically tax returns. I am very interested in getting involved in VITA and becoming a volunteer but I am not exactly sure how to do so. I tried filling out the online form several times but I was never contacted.
Also, I am the president of the college's accounting society and I am very interested in planning either and event or a program with you. There are many students who would definitely be interested in getting involved and I was wondering if you could use any of there help. This could be a one day program to help you guys out in anything you need, or a long term program to become VITA volunteers.
Please get back to me as soon as you have a chance because I am extremely interested in getting involved.
All the best,
Answer from email@example.com
It is refreshing to see an enthusiastic volunteer willing to set up a VITA site, and following up when you are not getting a response.
According to the email and registration records, you made enquiries on 3/29/2009, 4/19/2009 and 4/23/2009 which was forwarded to VITA headquarters. Usually the vita-volunteers.org webmaster ignores such requests, leaving it to the national office to respond, but your determination to volunteer and your leadership qualities in wanting to start a new site is my personal opinion a good reason to respond publicly so that others with this question may also respond.
Vita-volunteers.org is run by a dedicated volunteer and site coordinator in the Santa Clara County, Ca which is close to San Francisco, and the purpose is to help volunteers in the local area sign up to volunteer. It was developed in conjunction with an enlightened Relationship manager who saw the value of getting online signups that could be directed by email immediately, since trying to find out how to volunteer was such a challenge.
However, soon many volunteers were signing up through the site, and the information directed to the Santa Clara County Relationship manager was not something that could be dealt with at the local level. Since the webmaster was a problem solver interested in helping out volunteers rather than deal with the bureaucracy, the practical solution was to direct those queries were directed to the VITA national office from which it was routed to the appropriate Territory Manager for action. It seemed a little silly to route it that way manually when the location of the volunteer was known, but contacting the National VITA office for the names of sites, site coordinators, Relationship managers and Territory resulted in the response that any queries should be directed to the National office.
A simple search on the web provided contact information on Territory Managers; since this information is supposed to be only for potential volunteers and coordinators who want to offer their services, but not to provide to individual taxpayers, I have extracted the names of the territory managers in New York State and presened them here for your reference in case you would like to contact them directly. If you are interested in the Territory Manager of a different state, please indicate by adding a comment to this posting. The contacts are as follows:
Albany Peter Stevens 518-427-4109 Peter.J.Stevens@irs.gov
Buffalo Peter Stevens 518-427-4109 Peter.J.Stevens@irs.gov
New York City Michael McCormick 212-436-1031 Michael.J.McCormick@irs.gov
The date of this information is not known, but there is also a listing of IRS offices in New York City which could be obtained through searching on the VITA Volunteers Custom Search Engine II on the website. As of April 17, 2009, here is the listing information.
It is not clear where in the process of sending out emails there was a breakdown in communication, so the practical action to take is to call the appropriate offices to get the appropriate information. Please get back to the blog to document your results, even if there is no action, so I can try to find who else can provide the information.
If you would like to add your experiences to this blog, it may help other interested volunteers reduce the amount of frustration they feel at not being able to volunteer.
The information contained here was obtained through publicly available sources that came up through a search engine which has not been verified. The accuracy can and should be verified with the IRS, but it is provided as a starting point.