Frequently Asked Questions


What is expected from a Students in Vita intern?
Within this internship, volunteers can choose among several positions which will entail different sets of skills, such as conversational skills and attentiveness to detail. Though each position requires a different mix of skills, they all require volunteers to behave cordially and professionally.
What are the requirements of the internship?
Interns must accumulate a total of 40 hours by attending workshops and volunteering at VITA sites. At least 20 hours must be completed at tax sites operated by SIV, and interns must attend at least one Saturday site day. Interns must also prepare at least 10 tax returns by the end of the tax season in order to receive internship credit.
How do I apply to become an intern?
Applicants must complete the online application by Thursday, October 18th, which is found on the Volunteers–Internship page. After all applications have been received, applicants will be scheduled for interviews.
Do I get college credit for completing the internship?
Interns have the option to receive transcript notation and one college credit. Only interns who successfully completed all internship requirements are eligible to receive transcript notation. We will provide details on receiving one college credit to all interns through email.
How can I fulfill the 40 hour requirement of the internship?
In additional to our regular sites in Davis, interns can obtain more hours from Super Saturdays, our partners’ sites in Woodland and Sacramento.
Do I need any prior experience in order to apply?
No, no prior experience is required to become an intern. Interns will learn everything they need to become a certified tax return preparer.


Certification Exam

Can I use references to complete the test?
The test is an open book test. You can use forms, instructions and other reference material to take the test. You should complete the test on your own. It is a disservice to the taxpayers you assist if you gain assistance from others.
What if I do not pass the test on my first attempt?
For the online test you are allowed a total of 2 attempts at certification for each test. For the online test the questions are randomized from the pool of questions from the paper test and retest. The result is a different test on each attempt.
Are there tools to help me with certification online?
There is a Practice Test to help with navigation on the test home page. In addition there are remediation links available next to each question and explanations for wrong answers at the end of an online test. The remediation links refer back to the topic in Link & Learn Taxes.
How much time does it take to complete the test?
The final time it takes for each certification test will depend on the person’s training and experience. In general Basic takes approximately 45 minutes; Advanced 45 minutes; Military takes approximately 1.5 hours.
What if I am unable to complete an online test in one session?
The online system will bookmark where you stop in an online test. When you log back into the online test it will show “in progress” for the test you were taking. Just click on that link to continue with the test.
What if I need to change an answer on the online test?
In the online test there is the “back” button so you can change your answer to a question. At the end of the test there will be a message displaying your answers and any questions that have not been answered. You will need to complete all questions and then hit the submit key. Use the HELP link at the top of the screen which provides test tips that will avoid input errors.
What is the passing score for certification?
The passing score for the test for each course is 80%.