Volunteer Tax Preparation





Tax Year 2018 Numbers

  • Standard Deduction: $12,000 for individuals, $18,000 for heads of household, and $24,000 for married couples filing jointly and surviving spouses. The standard deduction is $1,300 higher for over 65 or blind; $1,600 higher if also unmarried and not a surviving spouse.

  • Tax Rates Single: 10% up to $9,525; 12% up to $38,700; 22% up to $82,500

  • Tax Rates Married: 10% up to $19,050; 12% up to $77,400; 22% up to $165,000

  • Tax Rates HOH: 10% up to $13,600; 12% up to $51,800; 22% up to $82,500

  • Child Tax Credit: up to $2,000 per qualifying child. The child must be under 17 at the end of the year. The refundable portion of the credit is limited to $1,400. $500 nonrefundable credit for qualifying dependents other than children.

  • Child and Dependent Care Credit: 20% to 35% of up to $3,000 of child care and similar costs for a child under 13, an incapacitated spouse or parent, or another dependent so that you can work. Up to $6,000 of expenses for two or more dependents.

  • Educator expenses: $250

  • Mileage Rates: 54.5 cents for every mile of business travel; 18 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes; 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations

  • IRA contribution limit: $5500; age 50+: $6500; excess: 6% penalty; early distribution: 10% penalty

  • HSA contribution limit: self $3450, family $6900; age 55+: plus $1000; excess: 6% penalty; excess distribution: 20% penalty

  • Alimony is ignored beginning next year

IRS Mailing Addresses in Texas

  • not enclosing a payment:
    Department of the Treasury 
    Internal Revenue Service 
    Austin, TX 73301-0002
  • with a check; write on payee line "Department of the Treasury":
    Internal Revenue Service 
    P.O. Box 1214 
    Charlotte, NC 28201-1214
  • extension on paper form 4868 w/o payment:
    Department of the Treasury 
    Internal Revenue Service Center 
    Austin, TX 73301-0045
  • amended return; attach copies of tax documents with withholdings:
    Department of the Treasury 
    Internal Revenue Service 
    Austin, TX 73301-0052

VITA/TCE Education

Training Materials

1. Volunteer Standards of Conduct Test

2. Intake/Interview and Quality Review Test

3. Basic Test

4. Advanced Test

5. Military Test

6. International Test

7. Health Savings Accounts (HSA) Test

8. Federal Tax Law Update Test for Circular 230 Professionals

9. Foreign Student Test Test

10. Puerto Rico Test

11. Site Coordinator Test

AARP Information

VITA/TCE Information

Public Information

  • Pub 4836 (EN/SP), VITA/TCE Free Tax Program
  • Publication 4454, Your Civil Rights are Protected
  • Pub 4053 (EN/SP), Your Civil Rights are Protected


  • Form 14446, Virtual VITA/TCE Taxpayer Consent


  • Publication 1345, Handbook for Authorized IRS e-file Providers of Individual Income Tax Returns
  • Form 13206, Volunteer Assistance Summary Report
  • Form 13533, Sponsor Agreement
  • Form 13715, SPEC Volunteer Site Information Sheet
  • Form 6729, QSS Site Review Sheet
  • Form 6729D, Site Review Sheet
  • Publication 4390, VITA/TCE Computer Loan Program
  • Publication 4473, IRS Computer Loan Program Welcome Package
  • Pub 3112, IRS E-File Application and Participation


  • SPEC - Stakeholder Partnerships, Education and Communication
  • VITA - Volunteer Income Tax Assistance
  • TCE - Tax Counseling for the Elderly (AARP)
  • QSR - Quality Site Requirements
  • VSC - Volunteer Standards of Conduct
  • SIDN - Site Identification Number
  • EFIN - Electronic Filing Identification Numbers
  • ERO - Electronic Return Originator
  • EITC - Earned Income Tax Credit
  • TIGTA - Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration
  • PSO - Public Safety Officer
  • COD - Cancellation of Debt
  • PMI - Primary Mortgage Insurance
  • FATCA - Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (out of scope)
  • RMD - Required Minimum Distribution after age 59.5
  • AOC - American Opportunity Credit
  • LLC - Lifetime Learning Credit
  • ABLE - Achieving a Better Life Experience
  • QOF - Qualified Opportunity Fund
  • QBI: Qualified business income
  • PTP: Qualified publicly traded partnership
  • REIT: Real estate investment trust

TaxSlayer Information

  • SSN applied for: enter 000-00-0000 and paper file, together with form SS-5
  • ITIN applied for: enter 000-00-0000 and paper file, together with form W-7
  • For a dependent: Check box if the dependent does not have an SSN/ITIN/ATIN check box; program forces W-7 application
  • MFS and spouse's SSN unknown: enter 111-00-1111 and paper file
  • If the taxpayer cannot obtain a Form W-2 from the employer, TaxSlayer Pro Online generates Form 4852, Substitute for Form W-2, with the tax return. (out of scope)

12. Practice Returns from Form 6744, Volunteer Certification Tests

  • Basic: Emily Clark
  • Basic: Jacob and Martha Mills
  • Advanced: Fran Emerson
  • Advanced: Matthew and Mary Donnelly
  • Advanced: Austin Drake issue: QBI is calculated on line 9 on page 2 of 1040, limited because the remaining taxable income was only 11924 *20% = 2385; --this is less than the schedule C income: 29617 * 20% = 5923;
  • HSA: Peggy Walker
  • Military: Alvin and Kelly Blackburn issue: "elect NOT to include combat pay in the calculation of their earned income credit.": The f6744 scenario tells me that it is OK to add $2200 of depreciation to the rental expenses (I added that in line 19 as other expenses in schedule E) - even though depreciation is supposedly generally out of scope. Then Alvin and Kelly elect not to include combat pay in the EIC calculation - but it seems TaxSlayer decides that himself (or herself), and I have not found a way to tell the program to elect or not.
  • International: Yolanda Lawson issue: - There is $33 foreign tax credit on the interest statement. The numbers from form 1116 Foreign Tax Credit, and foreign taxes paid from interest (33), do not carry over into Schedule 1 of the 1040. But if I take form 1116 out, the $33 credit reappears.
  • Circular 230: Fran Rollins

13. AARP Practice Returns from AARP Tax-Aide NTTC Workbook TY 2018

  • John Adams
  • Terry Baldwin issue: QBI 20% of 33893 = 6779 is reduced to 20% of remaining taxable income 16598 = 3320.
  • Karen Chambers deduct $1800 for Public Safety Officer health insurance exclusion
    note: simplified method not allowed, because only "When you receive pension or annuity payments are you able to recover your cost or investment"
  • (WS)Ronald and Alicia Davis
  • Mary Elliott
  • Ronald and Marilyn Anderson
  • Charlotte Brent note: filing MFS does not allow for student loan interest deduction
  • Jeremy Clark and Janice Stephens note: unsure about the numbers that go into the splitting worksheet form 8379
  • (WS)James and Annette Daniels note: QBI is 5429 * 20% = 1086 (the full 20% apply). This time total taxable income is higher than SE income alone.
  • (WS)Joanne Moore issue: Simplified Method for 1099-R: starting date 01/01/2017, her age=2017-1965=52, his is unknown: died in 2016; $18,985 distribution. Assumption: At death, his joint/survivor annuity is NO MORE joint.
  • Marie Quincy note: Simplified Method for 1099-R; his age=1996-1945=51
  • John and Elizabeth Reed note: must add $4000 dependent income into Household income in the Health Insurance section; used books do not count for Lifetime Learning Credit
  • Jessica Stanley
  • Gail Archer note: not all of the $7000 distribution can be excluded from the 10% additional tax on early distributions
  • (WS)Albert and Lois Meadows note: teacher must have worked at least 900 hours/year for the $250 teacher deduction; procedure question: reduce basis on form 8606, and then make non-taxable on form 1099-R?
  • (WS)James Miller note: repayment of 2008 $7500 homebuyer credit started in 2010. Therefore, the amount already repaid is calculated as: 8*$500=$4000
    note: military pension excluded from amounts on form 8880 retirement contributions credit
  • Ben Parsons and Patricia Harper note: started drawing pension Jan 1, 2004= Dec 31, 2003 for calculation of the ages him: 2003-1940=63, her: 2003-1942=61, total 124
    Ben Parsons and Patricia Harper - itemized deductions $23,515 were less than $26,600 standard deduction
  • Troy and Yvonne Thompson note: Form 1099-LTC, Long-Term Care Benefits: Search for Form 8853
    issue: what to do with the QCD from his IRA to charity over $5,000? p4012 says: under IRA Pensions/Distributions select Nontaxable Distributions. Strange: the text says "mark this as a QCD", but there was more than one 1099-R, and the QCD is not appearing on the tax return!
  • James and Elena Wells issue: 1099-MISC with royalties can NOT be associated with a schedule C, $2100 have to be entered as other income
    issue: social security for previous years not entered in key
    note: LTC for Elena (2200) is limited to $1,530 because of her age 58. issue: check "Taxpayer is deceased" carries over into next new return.
  • Thomas and Gale Yale note: (NC) LTC for Gale (2450) is limited to $1,530 because of her age.
    note: started drawing pension Jul 1, 2013= Dec 31, 2012 for calculation of the ages him: 2012-1951=61, her: 2013-1965=48, total 109
    note: What about the retired police officer and health ins of $3,100? Public Safety Officer Exclusion must be between $0 and $3,000!

14. United Way Practice Returns

15. TaxSlayer Practice Returns

Wolfgang Barwig, EA