Last year, more than 88,000 Americans, including nearly 300 in Maine, gave back to their communities as volunteers who provided free tax services through the IRS’ Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly Programs.

“The IRS and its partners are once again looking for volunteers that are interested in taking a little time to learn about taxes and then helping others by preparing federal income tax returns for free,” said Peggy Riley, IRS spokesperson, in a news release. “Volunteers are certified to prepare simple tax returns for people whose incomes are $50,000 or less. People of all ages and backgrounds are welcome to volunteer. There is a role for anyone who is interested and wants to help.”

Volunteers can help in three separate capacities: return preparer, site coordinator (site supervisor or site manager), and greeter.

Site coordinators (supervisors) may also prepare returns. Greeters will generally also answer simple questions and distribute forms.

Training is usually held between November and January and volunteers generally study online with Link & Learn Taxes (irs.gov/app/vita) to obtain their volunteer certification. The Link & Learn program is an interactive course that teaches all of the basics needed to prepare simple income tax returns accurately for individuals. Classroom training may also be available. Once certified, volunteers spend as little as three to four hours per week volunteering between the months of February and April.

Each year, millions of people receive assistance through these programs. In Maine, nearly 300 VITA/TCE volunteers helped more than 17,000 taxpayers.

To volunteer, send an email with your contact information and the city and state where you want to become a volunteer to: taxvolunteer@irs.gov. More information about the IRS volunteer tax preparation programs is available at: irs.gov, keywords: tax volunteer.