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Training and certification information and resources for tax season 2022

(updated 1/17/2022 8pm)

New Volunteers: 

Don’t start on your certification until you receive additional instruction from us.
Tax Law training for new volunteers has ended, if you have prior experience with volunteer income tax assistance, send an email to If you are new to volunteer income tax prep, check back with us October 2022, or fill out this interest form:

Training pat for new volunteer intake screeners and preparers: Click here
When it is time to take your IRS exams, come back to this page for important information and reminders.

Important Information and Reminders for All Volunteers

  • In-Person volunteer locations: click here
  • CTA Training Classes:
    • Training materials. See below for information for links to download electronic copies.
      Printed copies of the 4012 and 6744 (test book) are available at several pick up locations. Email for pickup details for these locations:

      • New Carrollton; McLean; Alexandria; Anacostia (UPO); 14th & K NW (CTA office); Capital Hill/Potomac Ave, DC; Mt. Pleasant, DC.
    • Training class descriptions: Click here. (Want a deeper review of pensions, education, rideshare or states? We have classes for that. Want moral support while taking your test? We have drop-in sessions for you.). Click here for Zoom registration links.
  • Training calendar: Click here.
  • Certification Instructions and How To: Click here.
  • TaxSlayer: All sites will be using TaxSlayer. Click here for training and practice information.
  • Certification Level: Returning Preparers; Reviewers; Site Coordinators certify at the ADVANCED level. Experienced volunteers can choose to take the Qualified Experienced Volunteer (QEV) certification instead of the Advanced test.
    ***NOTE***(The tests are extra tricky this year. If you don’t get a passing score the first time you submit, take advantage of one of drop in sessions before submitting again as you can’t take a test a third time.  Also, use the training class description page to link to materials for the What’s New, New Volunteer, and the Advanced classes.)
  • To receive CE credit you must take the Advanced test. (Click here for information on CE Credit).
  • After you complete ALL certification exams you plan to take, submit your Volunteer Agreement electronically to CTA (more information below.)
Training Resources Certification Exams

Available for pickup:  Pub. 6744 & Pub. 4012
(variety of porch pick up and downtown avail)

Available Online:

Online Self Study

Required Minimum Distribution Training

Quick HSA Reminder (see below)

Test Topics Guide (coming soon)

Select Topics (see below)

Reminders & Tips

  • When you log in to Link & Learn, make sure your contact information is correct, that your name matches your government issued photo ID, and that you have updated your years of service.
    Click here for information on logging in and updating your information
  • See Volunteer Tax Alert: related to the certification tests that you plan to take
    • VTA 2022-01 concerning the Basic, Advanced, and Military exams
    • VTA 2022-02 concerning the Foreign Student and Scholar exam
  •  Before looking at the certification exam, review “Important Changes for 2021” and “Temporary Revisions” chapters in Pub. 4491. (The Link & Learn system does not have the very important “Temporary Revisions” Chapter”)
  • Don’t answer any question without consulting 4012 or 4491.  Tax law has gone through many, many changes. Don’t think the rules you think you know about anything are still the same.
  • TaxSlayer is not completely updated. For known issues, check the TaxSlayer blog ( ) and this crowdsourced site using the Chrome browser
  • The exams are tricky. Thoroughly read all the information that is given in the scenarios. Double check what you think you know with what has changed this year. Don’t assume. Verify!
  • If you don’t get a passing score the first time you submit, take advantage of one of drop in sessions before submitting again as you can’t take a test a third time.  Also, use the training class description page to link to materials for the What’s New, New Volunteer, and Advanced classes.


>Quick HSA Reminder

Be careful of this common mistake.

  • Don’t count the nondeductible contributions as deductible. (Often taxpayers know they have contributed to their HSA (sometimes not), but they often don’t realize they contibuite by payroll deduction (Cafeteria Plan), which reduces W-2 wages, making the exepenses nondeductible.
  • Don’t only look at the Form 5498-SA as the total contribution amount may include non-deductible contributions. (Taxpayers often don’t know if their contribution was pre-tax. Employer contributions and pre-tax employee contributions are non-deductible.
  • Do look at the W2 to see if any of the HSA contribution amount is non-deductible.

Example 1:

Bob contributes $500 to his health savings account, and his employer contributes $1,000. His Form 5498-SA shows contributions of $1,500.

Only the $500 is deductible. The $1,000 appears on Bob’s W-2 with Code W in box 12 and is not deductible.

Example 2:

The facts are the same as in example 1, except Bob contributes to his HSA pretax through a Section 125 Cafeteria Plan. In that case, none of the contribution is deductible. Furthermore, the Box 12 (Code W) amount includes the $500 Bob contributed and the $1,000 his employer contributed, for a total of $1,500. Bob’s Form 5498-SA also shows $1,500 in total HSA contributions. None of the $1,500 is deductible.

>Select Topics

  • For Pensions with unknown taxable amount, go to: & click on Annuity Calculator
  • Pell Grant, AOTC, taxable scholarship and Kiddie Tax
    • See: Pub. 4012, page J-7 and “Coordination with Pell grants and other scholarships.” in Pub 970
    • Taxable scholarship income is considered earned income for the purposes of determining filing requirement
    • Taxable scholarship income is considered unearned income for the purposes of Kiddie Tax (see 2021 4012 page A2 near the bottom and J6). The Kiddie Tax is out of scope

>Exam Certification Registration:

  • Go to:
  • Log-in using last year’s username and password OR “Create Account” if you are new to Link and Learn.
  • REQUIRED: If you logged in using last year’s information, click on the “My Account” tab to verify and update your information using the instructions below.
  • For Group, “01-VITA Volunteer”. Also be sure to indicate if you are an IRS employee.
  • If you are a Assistant/Site Coordinator, select “Yes” for “Do you want to take the Site Coordinator Course”
  • Select “Yes” for “Do you plan to volunteer in the VITA/TCE Program?”
  • For Training Source, select “Other”
  • First and Last Name: MUST match the name on your government issued photo ID
  • Under “Partner/Organization Name” type “Community Tax Aid DC”
  • For “Years you Have Volunteered” select “1” if this will be your first year, “2” if it will be your second, etc.
  • “Professional status…” fill in this field and remaining only if you are a registered return preparer, EA,
    CPA, or attorney AND you are requesting IRS CE credits
     (To enter PTIN type P plus your number. For CTEC ID, type A plus your number)
  • After filling in all the information:
  • If you are updating, click the “save” button at the bottom of the screen.
  • If you created a new account, click the “register “button at the bottom of the screen to the right.

>Continuing Education Credits

>Signing & Submitting Volunteer Agreement

Signing & Printing (Complete ALL of your exams before completing these steps)

  1. Before printing, make sure you clicked on the “My Account” tab and updated your information according to the instructions above. [To request CE credits fill in fields at the bottom of the form.]
  2. On the right side of the screen, you will see a box that says, “You may sign your Volunteer Agreement electronically by checking this box.” Click the box
  3. Under the box, you will see “Click here to open and complete your Volunteer Agreement”.
  4. Click on the link. It will generate your volunteer agreement with your test results.

If you are requesting CE credit, navigate to page 2 of the agreement and digitally sign the agreement (if unable to digitally sign, you will need to print and manually sign the agreement.)

  1. On page 2 of the PDF, you will see a “Professional designation” section.
    Do NOT fill this out—even if you are an Attorney/CPA or EA.
  2. Save the pdf to submit electronically to CTA.


  1. All volunteers should submit your agreement to CTA: Fax: 202-521-3988 (no cover letter necessary), or Email:
  2. If you are volunteering in person, take your photo ID and volunteer agreement to your tax site the first day. If you are volunteering remotely, after we receive the volunteer agreement we will verify your ID remotely.