Code for America’s Tax Benefits volunteers serve as the catalyst to connect taxpayers with low or no income to important tax benefits that can be a tremendous boost to their financial situation.

Our easy-to-use virtual platform, GetYourRefund, provides an accessible option for many taxpayers to get connected to free tax preparation services and access to cash benefits. In 2021 and 2022, our e-filing tool, GetCTC, allowed filers with low or no income to submit their own simplified tax returns directly to the IRS to receive the Child Tax Credit, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the third stimulus payment. In 2024, our volunteers will assist filers in using GetYourRefund. 

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Code for America’s Tax Benefits program was established in 2020 to identify the most equitable and easy ways for people with low or no income to access the refundable tax benefits for which they are eligible.

Our goal was to reach new and intermittent filers. Since there was very little data available about how best to reach this demographic, we knew we needed to be creative and build accessible tools that people could use on their own.

After the 2020 pilot season and the sudden onset of the pandemic, we partnered with over 50 VITA organizations, part of the IRS’ Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program that provides free tax preparation services for millions of taxpayers all over the country. We built an online platform, GetYourRefund, for these organizations to provide virtual tax prep services to the clients they were unable to serve in person due to the pandemic. Additionally, offering a virtual option enabled them to also expand their services to individuals unable to travel to their tax sites, including filers in other states. 

In 2021, we launched GetCTC, a simplified filing tool that enabled  clients with little to no income to directly claim the newly expanded Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit from the IRS. By the end of 2022, GetCTC generated an estimated $650,000,000 in refunds to individuals who would have otherwise missed out on these poverty-reducing credits.

For 2024, the IRS has announced their plans to implement a scaled Direct File pilot. This pilot will allow a limited number of eligible taxpayers to directly file their tax returns with the IRS for free. In partnership with state tax agencies in Arizona and New York, Code for America will create and provide a state e-filing solution for people who use the IRS Direct File tool, laying out a possible model for states to build on as the project moves forward.

Current Products


An online platform to communicate with taxpayers about the tax preparation process, help them gather their documents, and assign them to a local VITA organization for tax preparation.


Tax Benefits Screener Volunteer: GetYourRefund

Tax Benefits Screener volunteers help clients complete the GetYourRefund application process, ensure clients have all necessary information and documentation, and help answer basic questions. This role does not require IRS tax certification.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the desired skillset for these roles?

Even though the services being offered are tax-related, no previous tax knowledge or tax preparation experience is required to volunteer. Our training will give you all the info you need to succeed in whichever role you choose. Much of the work is focused primarily on customer service. We will provide training for any relevant tax law needed to perform in your role.  

What is the minimum number of hours a volunteer must serve?

With customer service at the heart of our work, our volunteers are asked to serve at least four to six hours per week to ensure they are able to respond in a timely manner to the client they’re serving.

What is the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA)?

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) is a program that came out of the IRS over 50 years ago and was designed to help taxpayers with low income file their tax returns for free. The program has been wildly successful and nonprofits all over the country offer VITA services as a means to fight poverty and promote financial stability. Since 2021, many VITA organizations across the country have begun to use GetYourRefund to serve clients virtually.

I’ve volunteered in-person with VITA before. How is GetYourRefund similar?

GetYourRefund is an online platform that VITA organizations use to offer their tax preparation services virtually. It is essentially an online file management system where clients provide their tax information and documents and can receive communication back from a volunteer. Our Tax Benefits Screener role is similar to the Greeter role at a VITA in-person site, where they make sure the taxpayer has all their information and documentation in order. You’ll do the same prior to assigning them to a VITA organization for tax preparation.

I have experience doing Customer Service work. How will volunteering with GetYourRefund call upon these skills?

Clients using GetYourRefund often require assistance to complete the onboarding process. Our Tax Benefits Screeners provide each client with the necessary guidance to collect all the information and documentation they will need for tax preparation. Since many clients have been victims of identity theft or are in precarious tax filing situations, volunteers will be most successful in their role if they are able to exercise both a professional and empathic approach to each client.

Does it matter where I live or what timezone I’m in?

No. Code for America is a remote-first organization with staff and volunteers located all over the country. We offer shifts that accommodate all timezones and are also available on weekends.