Tax Counselors - New

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New Counselor Information and Registration

Tax Counselors work with low to medium income taxpayers, with special emphasis on the elderly, to prepare their federal and state (Maryland) tax returns.   Counselors volunteer at over 20 different libraries, community centers, and senior centers around Montgomery County. Click here for a list of 2017 sites.  

Although we have several Saturday and evening sites, most of our counseling is during the weekdays.  We ask volunteers to commit to at least four to six hours each week during the tax season (first week in February until April, 17 2018) although most put in more hours.

Our volunteer counselors have a variety of experience.   New volunteers should be familiar with one or more browsers (e.g. Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Firefox), Form 1040 for individual tax returns, and the use of a software package for tax preparation.  More specifically, you should be using the internet on a regular basis and you should have a general understanding of income and deductions and their entry on Form 1040 (details of relevant lines will be presented during training).   If you do not meet these prerequisites, please consider volunteering for one of our other positions.   We will not be able to help you with the basics of these prerequisites during the training class.


Mandatory training in January for new volunteer counselors consists of five sessions that cover both federal and Maryland tax law. These classes provide “integrated training” including tax law and the computer program (TaxSlayer) used to prepare tax returns. Volunteers are required to attend every session.  

Snow policy for training classes:

 As a general rule, if Montgomery County schools are closed, no tax classes; if schools open late, tax classes begin on time.


Before assisting taxpayers with their returns, volunteers must receive IRS certification by passing an IRS open book exam and a Maryland tax exam using TaxSlayer computer software.  The five day training session assists volunteers to gain the knowledge necessary to pass the certification exams and to prepare accurate tax returns.

All test problems are completed using computers with the IRS-supplied tax program TaxSlayer. The certification exams (IRS and MD) are due in January.

If you would like to get a headstart on the material, go to and look at Pub 4012.  The IRS certification test is in Pub 6744 available on   All counselors are certified at the Advanced level.  

Laptop Computers

We strongly urge you to bring your personal laptop if you have one since your familiarity with it will make it easier to use.  TaxSlayer is accessed through the internet using Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari 5.1 or higher, or Google Chrome.   No changes will be made to your computer.  You may use Windows 7, 8, 8.1, or 10 operating system or Macintosh with Chrome.  You cannot use Windows XP.  

We have a limited number of ‘loaner’ laptops.  Please indicate whether you will need to use a loaner laptop 

Please note:   Windows XP may not be used on any computer accessing TaxSlayer, including home computers used for training. 

Tax-Aide Counselors Registration

If you are interested in volunteering for the 2017 tax-year season please email