VITA Volunteers

Useful Links

Check the volunteer schedule (please don't make any edits to this document)

TaxSlayer Practice Lab (password: TRAINPROWEB)

Link and Learn certification/test taking site


2/5/24 👀 Clinic reminders, calls to action, all the warm fuzzies!

Wow, what an amazing first week of clinics! Thank you to everyone who worked a shift last week, truly it is your time and commitment that makes this program happen. This email has some reminders about clinic process, a couple calls to action, and appreciations for you from the Money Matters crew and the taxpayers! Remember, you can read this email and every other VITA communication at

Arriving at clinics

When possible, please arrive to clinic 15 minutes prior to the first appointment (5:15 for a 5:30 clinic). This gives you time to settle in and get ready before the first round of appointments! We want you to feel collected and prepared when you start preparing returns.

When am I ready for QR?

If you have . . .

  1. Completed the MA return, including the oft forgotten rental deduction AND
  2. Continued to the eFile section AND
  3. Entered bank account information AND
  4. Completed the consents AND
  5. Added the Senior Circuit Breaker amount, if relevant, on the Custom Credits page AND
  6. Are looking at the Submission Page (see image) . . .

. . . Then you are ready for QR!

Post-return Form

This year, before you turn in your completed return packet, we are asking volunteers to complete the Post-return Form to help us keep track of what happens in clinic. Last week we had 56 appointments and 31 Post-Return Form responses. Let's see if we can improve that ratio! It's certainly an easy thing to forget, so we will work on reminding you all during QR. Depending on space logistics, we may also have a computer or tablet set up at the Site coordinator station where you can complete the form as you turn in the return packet.

Greenfield Library clinic, are you free?

We still need more people at the Greenfield Library clinic on Monday, 2/26! The clinic runs 1-7. If you can only come for a chunk of that, we still want you there. The official split shift is 1-4:15 or 3:45-7, but we will make your schedule work. View the schedule here, and then complete the Volunteer Shift Change Form.

Toys for kids at clinic

We are accepting donations of toys or books or crayons etc. to keep on hand for kids at tax clinics. Got stuff cluttering up your house? Bring it to your next shift! Things we do NOT want: stuffed animals, hard to clean things, things with small pieces that can get lost or roll, things that make sound, things that are messy. Some examples of toys that were big hits last week: A mirror for a baby! A stress ball! Crayons! A pony with hair to brush!

Appreciation for YOU from US

Barbara-Jean for connecting with a taxpayer in need, to Gina and Slam for sharing your expertise with new volunteers, to Greg for going the extra-mile to Rhode Island, to Vanessa and Brianna for working your first shift fearlessly, to Rob for bringing heart and a smile into all you do, to Lydia for bringing a roaring fireplace to the office (via computer screen), to Janet and Pat C. for being up for anything, to Pat P. for being such a strong advocate and for reloading the printer paper, for Joshua for being an oasis of calm, to Cindie for making each appointment a smooth ride, and to Erin for always doing extra to help.

💯What taxpayers are saying💖

"This program is helpful to me because previously I had a family member help me through other tax prep programs, which led to me being audited, or used mainstream prep handlers which I felt were predatory. This program feels like it’s “on my side” and is friendly and understanding. Please continue to fund them in the future."

"Everyone that is volunteering is an absolute joy. I always feel welcomed."

"It helps me out because I don’t have any idea what I’m doing and it helps takes stress off my plate as a single mom of 2"

I couldn't say it better myself. Thanks for all your hard work, can't wait to see you all at clinics.

1/30/24 First clinics! Announcements galore held within

Last night we had our first tax clinic, and boy was it a doozy! As a reformed theater kid, I always think of this first week of clinics as tech week. We're working out the kinks, doing dress rehearsal but with a live audience. Thanks to you all for the work you do keep the show going!

Appreciation for Monday clinic crew, knocked it out of the park!

Clara, who got my secret style memo (hot pink and orange are a fantastic combo) AND was a bilingual powerhouse, Jose, who's calm and experienced presence brought great steadiness, Lilly, who dived into the unknown and had fun doing it, Maureen, who gracefully handled a cubicle overflowing with children and toy cars and scribbled unicorns, Michelle, who deftly wrangled two pandora's box returns (a bit unexpected once we opened them up), Beck, who stepped in to mentor a new volunteer at their first in-person appointment, and finally Joan who completed 4 returns back to back without breaking a sweat. Thank you for all your hard work!!

Are we still waiting on forms from you? They're late! Get them to us ASAP!

If you haven't sent us your Volunteer Agreement 13615 (generated from Link and Learn after taking the certifications), or completed your CORI and CAPV volunteer packet signature, we need those ASAP. Contact SWEENEY with questions.

Post-return form

After you prepare a return, before you bring the yellow packet to the Greeter station, we are now asking volunteers to complete a quick form to help us track what happens at clinic. We'll show you what to do during your first QR, but feel free to check it out now.

Incorrect date on schedule, no clinic 3/7

I put a date on our schedule when we don't actually have clinic! If you were scheduled on Thursday 3/7, you can take it off your schedule

Dates we need more help

Check out this list and let REBECCA know if you can join us:

Monday, 2/26, Greenfield Library, 1-7 (can work a half shift)

Monday, 3/4

Thursday, 3/14

Monday, 3/18

Thursday, 3/21

What taxpayers are saying❤️

"The IRS is rude and the lovely people at this program help me file my taxes correctly so the IRS isn’t mean to me. 🙂 "

"It takes a lot of stress off of me, and literally saves me money I don't have."

1/24/24 😮 Clinics start next week!

Our first clinic is on Monday! It's very exciting to see all the planning and training and preparation come together. Our first 2 weeks are fully booked and the rest of February is filling up fast. I've got a few action items and announcements for you today, so please read through each section.

13615/Volunteer Agreement, CORI, CAPV volunteer packet signature

Are we still waiting on documents from you? Not sure whether you've sent everything in? Contact SWEENEY. We need your forms ASAP.

Confirm your schedule, add a shift!

Do you know what shifts we've signed you up for? Think you have another day or two you can commit to? 

Preparing for your first shift

Your first night at a tax clinic can feel daunting, but we want to support you every step of the way. Generally, we ask that you come 15 minutes before the start of clinic (5:15 for a 5:30 clinic, etc.), but for your first shift - especially if you're a new volunteer - I recommend coming in 30 minutes early so that you can really get settled and feel ready for your first appointment. Remember to think about what your body needs in order to feel present and comfortable. Are you coming straight from work? Did you get outside at all today? Do you have something to quickly eat before clinic? Should you grab a cup of coffee, or bring your favorite calculator? We will have snacks at clinic for volunteers, and we will give you the time you need to get settled.

Expectations at clinics

Each clinic will have ~6 tax prep stations and appointments scheduled every hour. If you're a returning volunteer, you can expect to prepare ~3 returns each shift. If you're a new volunteer, we want you to take your time and work up to that. We expect that your first few shifts will be slower, and that you will ask lots of questions. Remember to use your resources! We will have 4012s available at clinics, other volunteers sometimes have answers, and of course your Site Coordinators will be available at each step.

Share info about Ware with your networks!

We are, as you all know, super psyched to be bringing VITA to Ware for a pop-up clinic on Saturday, February 24th. Right now, only 1 taxpayer has scheduled an appointment in Ware 😢Hi volunteers,

Our first clinic is on Monday! It very exciting to see all the planning and training and preparation come together. Our first 2 weeks are fully booked and the rest of February is filling up fast. I've got a few action items and announcements for you today, so please read through each section.

Snow cancellations

My hope is that we will not have to cancel any clinics due to weather this year. If we do, I will let you know at least 3 hours prior (2:30 for a 5:30 clinic). I will send out an email, and you may get texts from Alyssa or Sweeney.

Who should I talk to about . . . ?

If your name is: Barbara-Jean, Bernadette, Cindie, Clara, David K, David S, Gina, Gregory, Jasmine, Joan, Jose, Joseph, Kevin, Lillian, Lydia, Mary, Maureen, Michelle, Patricia C, or Slam . . . then SWEENEY is your main contact, you can email or text Sweeney at (413) 472-1065

If your name is: Alissa, Beck, Brianna, Carol, Dane, Erin, Gillian, Janet, Joshua, Kaydance, Kris, Maxwell, Melissa, Naomi, Patricia P, Patrick, René, Robert, Sara, Sarahi, Sofia, Sue, Vanessa, or Wissmon . . . then ALYSSA is your main contact, you can email or text Ayssa at (413) 834-4242

Catch up on all the news

As a reminder, you can read all the emails we've sent out on our volunteer site,

Can't wait to see you all at clinics!

1/11/24🎈Training tonight, announcements galore

Wooof! You've been getting a lot of emails from us, thanks for hanging in there as we make it through training and get this year's tax clinics up and running. Some of the information in this email is NEW, and some information is a REPEAT. New stuff at the top!

Lost amid all the emails and links? Check out the new announcements page!

We've put all the emails together on a private page for volunteers on the CAPV website . See every email we've sent in one place!


We have physical copies of the 4012 and 6744 available at 393 Main st in Greenfield and 155 Pleasant St in Northampton. You can stop by during business hours to check in with reception and grab a binder. In Northampton they will be self-serve in a box. Email ALYSSA if you need help getting a binder

Shift schedule

Respond to the form linked in the schedule to switch or cancel a shift. Days highlighted in yellow have TOO MANY volunteers! Can you move your shift to another date? Fill out the form to let me know.

Dates we need more folks

There are a few days we could use more people, these dates are highlighted in green in the schedule. Can you help out on one of those days? Fill out the form to let me know. 

Mondays: 2/12, 2/26, 3/11, 3/18, 3/25

Thursday: 3/28

Saturday in Orange: 3/16

Training support office hours

Tomorrow, Friday 1/12, I will be available over Zoom on in-person in Greenfield to help you with test prep/entering the practice scenarios into Practice Lab. Let me know if you will be stopping in, and when!

Training tonight

See you on Zoom in the usual place:

We will be covering MA tax law and some of the topics traditionally covered at orientations. We will have open work time to either catch up on Practice Lab scenarios, review the test, or take the test.

Orientations (these are mandatory unless you really can't make it)

Greenfield orientation will go ahead as planned next Tuesday, 1/16, at 5:30, 393 Main St in Greenfield, 4th floor

Northampton orientation will be SPLIT INTO 2 NIGHTS! Wednesday, 6-7:30 and Thursday, 6-7:30, you only need to attend one

So far 7 (seven) volunteers have RSVP's for Northampton orientations, but there should be ~30 of you attending. Please let us know whether you will join us on Wednesday or Thursday so we can plan.

1/10/24 PLEASE READ! Shift schedule, training tomorrow, orientations

Some important to-dos in this email, so make sure you read carefully!

Shift schedule

The good news: We have more volunteers this year than ever before! The tricky part: Getting everyone the shifts they asked for and making sure new volunteers get some time in right after training so you can all put your new skills into practice right away. I've done my best to get everyone in and accommodate scheduling needs, but I understand that availability changes. Please review the schedule, check your dates, and click on the form link in the schedule document if you need to make changes.

Click here to view the schedule. Note: You have the ability to edit this document, but please don't make any changes. Use the link to the shift change form to let me know if you need to move things around. 

Has your availability changed?

It happens! One of the things that is just part and parcel with VITA is that we ask folks to commit to something in November that doesn't happen till February. Lives change, capacity changes. I have been so impressed with you all throughout training, but if you are sitting here, reading this, thinking, "I really wish I had more time, but I think I need to adjust my priorities . . ." that's okay! We totally understand. Please respond to this email to let us know.

Training tomorrow, test prep office hours

We will be hosting the last official volunteer training tomorrow on Zoom. We will review the test questions and talk about MA tax law. IF AT ALL POSSIBLE, please have Basic Scenarios 7-9 and Advanced Scenarios 7-9 entered into Practice Lab BEFORE training. If that is not possible, and you want more 1:1 or small group support in navigating the software, I will be available THIS FRIDAY, from 12-3, either in person in Greenfield or over Zoom for test prep office hours. As always, please let your Site Coordinators know if you have any questions or need help! We are here for you as resources.


Greenfield orientation will go ahead as planned next Tuesday, 1/16, at 5:30, 393 Main St in Greenfield, 4th floor

Northampton orientation will be SPLIT INTO 2 NIGHTS! Wednesday, 6-7:30 and Thursday, 6-7:30, you only need to attend one

Thank you all for your presence and excitement about the program. It's been super fun seeing you all in training and getting to know you. As of this moment, 79 people have scheduled their tax appointments! Your time will make a big impact on those people.

1/4/24 VITA Training Night 2! TaxSlayer demo links

We had such a wonderful time with you all on Tuesday night! Keep up the great work, keep asking all your questions. Sweeney, Alyssa and I keep saying how invigorating it is to see the all planning and outreach manifested as 40 people in a Zoom room. I think this is going to be a great tax season.

Tonight we will be reviewing the answers for Basic Scenarios 1-6, and walking you through how to enter a return in TaxSlayer. Do you know you won't be able to make it to training tonight? Fear not! We've got resources for you:

  1. The test book, IRS pub 6744. This is where you will find the scenarios to enter in to the Practice Lab.
  2. Watch this 5 minute video on how to start a return in the TaxSlayer Practice Lab
  3. If you want more step-by-step, screen-by-screen support, check out this video from TaxSlayer. This webinar is 50 minutes and takes you through the entire federal return process.
  4. If you're not confident about your test answers, check out these study guides

The homework to complete before next Tuesday is to enter Basic Scenarios 7-9 into the Practice Lab, and then try to answer the test questions that go along with the returns.

Here is the Zoom link again in case you need it:

See you all tonight

1/2/24 TONIGHT! Forms to complete and VITA Training begins

Looking forward to talking taxes with you all this evening.

Training starts tonight at 5:30, here is the Zoom link

Still no word on the physical test books and 4012s. I'm sorry that we haven't been able to get those to you, particularly to all our new volunteers. 

Forms to complete and sign

We have a couple things we need you to review and complete in order to volunteer with CAPV. Please review the CAPV Volunteer Orientation Packet attached to this email, and then sign the CAPV Volunteer Packet signature page. You will also need to complete this CORI form and upload a picture of your ID

Did you miss the big volunteer email on the 28th?

Some of you signed up after 12/28 (welcome!) and some folks have let me know they haven't been getting these emails. Please reach out if you don't have an email from me on 12/28, subject line: 💫VITA Training: Next Week!

Feel free to email or call me today if you've got any questions.

See you all tonight!

12/28/23 💫VITA Training: Next Week!

I'm so excited to say that training is just around the corner! There's lots of information in this email, so please read through each section and be in touch if you have questions about anything.

Training Dates/Times

Training will be on Zoom, 5:30-8:30, Tuesdays and Thursdays, the first 2 weeks of January. The first 2 nights will be pretty tax law heavy, and the second 2 nights will be focused on test review. There will be a dinner break each night. Here is the link:

Prep for training

I'm attaching to this email the VITA Volunteer Handbook, copies of the slides we will be using, as well as a training syllabus which summarizes and links to the different resources we'll be using, what homework to do, how to take the test, etc. Review the syllabus and handbook before January 2nd. If you know you will be missing a night of training, or will only be able to attend part of a training session, please go through the slides and syllabus ahead of time! Figure out what you will be missing, and what you need to do to stay on track. 

Physical copies of the 4012 (tax law guide) and 6744 (certification test)

If you are a returning volunteer, you probably remember that in other years we have distributed physical copies of the 4012 and the test. I have ordered them, but no word yet on when they will arrive. I will update you all as soon as I know anything. In the meantime, please use the PDF versions of the 4012 and 6744 available online.

Volunteers needed! Greenfield Library Clinics 2/26 and 3/25

We could use a few more folks for the special clinics at the library! These are going to be really fun days and I'm hoping you, dear reader, can join us 😊 Particularly at the February one. Even if you can only come for part of the day, let me know ASAP. 


If you are returning volunteer who has elected to self-certify, you should find all the information you need in the attachments to this email. Reach out to me if you have questions.

Finally, from the whole Money Matters team, we are so glad you're with us for this tax year. Your commitment to your community, to learning something new, to giving back; it all says so much about who you are and what you value. I'm so honored that you've decided to join us for VITA.

See you all next week!