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Ladder Up is excited to offer “drop-off” service to clients for the 2021 tax season. Clients will schedule an appointment at a drop-off site, where they will meet with a volunteer to review and scan their tax documents. Their return will then be prepared remotely. Clients will make a second appointment to return to the drop-off site to review their return with a volunteer. Clients can also opt for a virtual appointment to review their return before signing.

2021 TAX SEASON VOLUNTEER ROLES

Drop-Off Specialist

Drop Off Specialists will meet 1:1 with clients, review the intake forms, all tax documents and answer any client questions. Once the review is complete, the Drop Off Specialist will scan the tax documents in the tax software, TaxSlayer, for remote preparation. The client will keep all their documents and schedule another appointment to review the completed return.

Drop Off Specialist Requirements:

  • Volunteer Standards of Conduct
  • Interview/Intake and Quality Review Certification (new this year)
  • Basic Tax Certification

Exit Interviewer

Exit Interviewers are the final step in the tax preparation process. Exit Interviewers will meet 1:1 either at a Drop Off site or virtually using GoTo Meeting. The Exit Interviewer will collaboratively review the tax return with the client for accuracy. The Exit Interviewer will answer any client questions about the return and explain the efiling process and timing.

Exit Interviewer Requirements:

  • Volunteer Standards of Conduct
  • Interview/Intake and Quality Review Certification (new this year)
  • Advanced Tax Certification

Training & Getting Started

Training for the 2021 tax season is here!

Please follow these steps to get started on training and make sure to visit our "Training and Certification" tab for more resources.

  1. VolunteerHub: To start the volunteer process, ALL volunteers must log into VolunteerHub or create a new account (Ladder Up (volunteerhub.com)).

  2. AbsorbLMS Training Platform: In 1 or 2 business days you will receive an activation email from Ladder Up with subject line "AbsorbLMS Email Activation - Ladder Up Training". Please check your spam folder.

    Complete Modules:

    • How to Use Absorb
    • Drop-off Specialist or Exit Interviewer Module
    • Review Instructions for Link & Learn
  3. Link & Learn Certification Center: Make sure to complete all required exams for your role. Instruction guide available for Link & Learn in AbsorbLMS.

    Please be sure to upload an image to AbsorbLMS of your Volunteer Standard of Conduct (Form 13615) that is auto-generated from Link & Learn. IMPORTANT: The name on your 13615 MUST match the name on the photo ID you provided us with.

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FAQ

  • Do I need a tax or finance background to volunteer?

    No tax preparation experience is necessary to get involved. All tax and software training is provided.

  • What training do I need to complete? Can I complete it online?

    All training can be completed online, at your own pace. All volunteers are required to complete a Volunteer Standards of Conduct quiz, Intake/Interview, and Quality Review quiz, and a Tax Certification Exam (Drop-Off Specialists must be at least basic-level certified, Exit Interviewers must be advanced-level certified). These tests can all be completed through the IRS Link & Learn program.

    Volunteers will also complete Ladder-Up specific modules regarding our site process. These modules will be completed through Ladder Up’s Online Learning Management System, Absorb. We expect that training will open in mid-December, and we’ll be sending out more information about how to complete training in our Ladder Update newsletter!

  • Am I liable if I make a mistake on someone’s tax return?

    All volunteers who have complied with the following program policies are not liable for mistakes on a client’s return:

    • Complete the mandatory IRS prerequisites for the current filing season
    • Successfully pass the IRS certification exam required for your volunteer role for the current filing season
    • Prepare or review returns only within the scope of your certification level
  • Who can I contact if I have more questions?

    Please scroll down to the bottom of this page to complete the Contact Us section and select “TAP Volunteering” from the dropdown menu. Or reach out to us at volunteer@goladderup.org or 312-409-1555 ext. 6

  • When are volunteer shifts available?

    Volunteer shifts are available Monday-Saturday. Our tax season begins on January 25th and typically runs through April 15th.

  • Where are your drop-off sites located?

    On January 25, we will begin tax services at Ladder Up’s main office in River North. After piloting this process in the office, we plan expand to other drop off sites throughout the city. We have identified site partners and will roll this out once all processes are moving smoothly.

    Our ability to expand will hinge on the internal results of the main office pilot and external factors such as the pandemic status. This model allows us to continue serving clients in our main office despite external factors out of Ladder Up control.

    River North Location: Ladder Up
    350 N Orleans, Suite C2-100 (sub-basement)
    Chicago, Illinois 60654

    The following neighborhoods are potential tax sites opening during the tax season:

    • Brighton Park
    • Dunning
    • Pullman
    • Uptown