Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program in Butte County

Friday, Feb 02, 2018

Tax ReturnWhat is VITA?

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program provides free income tax preparation assistance to individuals and families with household incomes of $54,000 or less at no cost. VITA program provides free tax return preparation completed by volunteers who have been trained and certified by the IRS. In many cases, these volunteers are accounting students, who are receive valuable hands-on-experience as well as opportunity to provide a service to their local communities.

The program was founded in 1971 by Gary Iskowitz at California State University Northridge. The program grew from a small number of accounting students to a now nationwide program serving millions of taxpayers. 

The Community Action Agency Butte County, Inc.(CAABCI) sponsors the VITA program in Butte County each spring. Partnering with the Chico State University’s Business Department, VITA provides qualified student volunteers who perform the free tax return preparation services for residents in need. Each year, VITA depends on community volunteers who are willing to invest time and their expertise to make this program possible. Tax/CPA professionals are welcome to volunteer.

The VITA Program helps those eligible for Earned Income Tax Credits to receive them.  Last year the VITA program in Butte County helped almost 1,000 residents to file returns for free. This saved local residents almost $1 million dollars and resulted in almost $1 million in refunds that benefited our local economy as a result.

VITA services are available in Chico and Durham at the following locations:  CSUC Chico Campus, the CARD Center, Dorothy Johnson Center, and the Durham Library.  Services start in February and go through Mid-April. Please check our schedule for specific dates.


Get Connected with VITA Services in Butte County:

The VITA program is sponsored by the Community Action Agency of Butte County. Each year we update the program details to keep you informed. One way to stay connected with VITA  program is to subscribe to the CAA blog and get email updates when the program starts each February. Sign up now or call Community Action Agency Butte County, Inc. at (530) 712-2883.

Once the VITA program starts each year you should:

  1. Check the VITA schedule for the current year
  2. Choose the location that fits your needs (See below)
  3. Check the times or make an appointment if necessary
  4. Collect all necessary documents needed to complete your tax return (see below)

VITA Locations for Butte County (subject to change each year):

CARD Center

545 Vallombrosa Ave., Chico, CA  95926

First Come, First Serve


Dorothy F. Johnson Center:

775 E. 16th St.,  Chico, CA  95928

First Come, First Serve

Spanish & English Speaking


Butte County Library, Durham:

2545 Durham Dayton Highway, Durham, CA  95938

By Appointment Only

Please call: 530-879-3835English Only


CSUC, Chico:

Bell Memorial Union located on W. 2nd St., Chico


Information to Bring:

If you want to get the most out of the help from VITA volunteers, it’s important that you bring the necessary information. Without all the necessary information, your taxes cannot be completed. Some of the items that you need in order to successfully fill out your tax return include:

  • Photo ID
  • Social Security Card for you, your spouse, and dependents. If you don’t have a Social Security number, you will need an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, or the proper proof of foreign status.
  • Birth dates for you, your spouse and dependents on the tax return
  • All of your income statements which may include W-2, W-2G, 1099-R, 1099-Misc from all employers
  • Interest & dividend statements from banks (Forms 1099)
  • All Forms 1095, Health Insurance Statements (Forms 1095-A, B or C, Affordable Health Care Statements)
  • Last year’s tax return, both federal & state (this gives the preparer a good place to start on this year's return)
  • Proof of bank account routing & account numbers for direct deposit such as a blank check
  • Total paid for childcare or eldercare. Please bring the provider's name & tax ID number
  • Both spouses must be present if filing joint tax return


Get Involved: Volunteer with VITA

At the very core of this community program are community volunteers. Every year the VITA program in Butte County and in communities across the country, is looking for certified volunteers to receive training from the IRS to help prepare basic tax returns. The trainings usually happen in beginning in December and continuing until mid-January. VITA sites are generally located at community and neighborhood centers, libraries, schools, shopping malls, and other convenient locations. Clients are not charged fees for this service.

Help your community receive and keep more of their hard-earned money! Volunteers interested in assisting in our Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program are needed each year. We are looking for experienced tax preparers who can assist at each of our VITA sites in Chico and surrounding areas. You can help people with low to moderate income file their taxes, and at the same time you’ll help taxpayers get tax credits and deductions that they’re entitled to receive. There will be a required VITA training on January that you will need to attend. Once you complete this training, you will then have to take the Link & Learn online certifications.  The trainer will give you more detailed information on how to complete the certification process below:

Link & Learn Taxes online certification (linklearncertification.com) works the same for both new and returning volunteers. Our system does not differentiate between new or returning volunteers. The system requires ALL volunteers (new and returning) to pass the 1) Volunteer Standard of Conduct (VSOC) and 2) Intake/Interview Quality Review exams in order to proceed with taking any tax law certifications such as Basic, Advanced, Military, International, and HSA. The Standards of Conduct and Intake/Interview & Quality exams are prerequisites prior to taking any tax law certifications exams.

NEW volunteers are required to take the Intake/Interview Quality Review training and all volunteers are required to take the VSOC training. However, volunteers will not be required to complete these training modules in Link & Learn Taxes as prerequisites. Volunteer can complete these training modules in Link & Learn Taxes (VITA/TCE Central) by accessing them on the “sign in page”. They are the last two training modules listed under “Quick Links” .

If new or returning volunteers are registered as a “Site Coordinator,” then they must take the Site Coordinator training. Returning volunteers who have already registered as a Site Coordinator in the previous tax year will automatically get this training in the current tax year. All volunteers who registered as a Site Coordinator will receive the training after passing the Intake/Interview & Quality Review exam. Volunteers complete the training by clicking through all the training slides in the Site Coordinator course. After completing the Site Coordinator course, they can get to the rest of the tests. This is the only course that is embedded into the linklearncertification.com system and is set up as a prerequisite and tracked for completion by clicking through all the slides.

For more information, or to sign up, please call (530)712-2883. Everyone benefits from the VITA Program; families, local businesses, communities. Tax/CPA Professionals are welcome.


Since 1967, the Community Action Agency of Butte County has been serving the needs of the region in alignment with the charter of the National Community Action Agencies overarching goal: To alleviate the causes and conditions of poverty by whatever means necessary in your community. As Butte County CAA, we provide hope to people struggling with poverty to become more self-sustaining by meeting tangible needs in the areas of energy savings, affordable food, and housing. Connect with us to find out how you can get involved.