Certification and Qualification

Learning IRS Tax Law:

IRS Certification:

  • Once comfortable with Tax Law, you need to pass the following certification tests with a score of at least 80%:
    1. Standards of Conduct (Pub 4961),
    2. Intake/Interview and Quality Review (Pub 5101)
    3. Advanced (Form 6744), and
    4. optionally (and preferably), the HSA certification (Pub 4942) .
  • The certification test site is at https://www.linklearncertification.com. More details on logging on and getting started can be found here.
  • The Advanced learning track includes the Basic level material, so there’s no need to certify for Basic before certifying for Advanced – this is a change from previous years, as is the elimination of the Intermediate level. We do not certify for Military, International, Foreign Student or Puerto Rico.
  • Instructors must generally be certified by December 31st, counselors by January 31st but check with your Local Site Coordinator for your specific dates.
  • Please take the test on-line but you may use the test booklets (Pubs 6744 and 4942) to record your answers before actually taking the test on-line. It’s a good idea to do both the test and retest questions for each test exercise because the on-line test draws from both sets of questions at random. (It can also give a clue if you can’t find your answer in one of the sets of questions.)

Learning local site procedures and Tax-Wise software:

  • See your local District/Site leadership for specifics about the formal hands-on training (it may be on your District/Site page too).
  • For new counselors, there will be a training session which will focus on the AARP procedures, answering questions, an orientation to the TaxWise software and helping you get started with Certification and Qualification exercises in Pub 4491W.
  • The regular seasonal training will cover basics and parts may be optional for returning Counselors depending on your District. This training will focus on local procedures, tricks, gotchas, what-ifs, and fine tuning of learning during the Certification process.
  • Training slides and other resources are on the Learning Resources page of this web site. They may or may not be used during training but are a good summary of the material.

Qualification exercises:

  • You will be given exercises that need to be completed to demonstrate your knowledge of tax law and your ability to use the software to properly prepare a return. The qualification exercises will use the training web site (https://vita.taxslayerpro.com/IRSTraining/) to prepare the exercises.
  • See your local District/Site leadership for specifics about which exercises you’ll need to complete (it may be on your District/Site page too).
  • You will be assigned someone to Quality Review your prepared return and the return will be submitted to a test IRS environment as if it were a real tax return. When your exercise is ready to be QR’ed, set the “stage” field to “Ready for Quality Review”. When reviewed, the QR person will create the E-file and set the “stage” field to “Ready to e-file”. The ERO will then do a trial submission and set the stage field to “Complete”. This will test the whole system and will give us a quick way to see where everyone is in the process.
  • You must generally complete all of these exercises by January 31st but check with your Local Site Coordinator for your specific date.