Free File Volunteer FAQ's

A woman volunteers to help a man with his taxes

Click on the sections below to get answers to the most frequently asked questions. Still need more information? Contact Nicole Zeiset, 864-850-7094 x131

As a volunteer, you can commit to as much or as little time as your schedule allows. Without volunteers, Free File would be unable to operate, so any time you can give is much appreciated. With multiple Free File sites located across Pickens County, there are opportunities available during weekday, evening, and weekend hours.

Free File sites operate for four hours on scheduled days, so many volunteers commit to one or two days a week. The current United Way of Pickens County Free File locations are:

Central/Clemson Library: 105 Commons Way, Central, SC, 29630

Easley- Hampton Memorial Library: 304 Biltmore Rd, Easley, SC, 29640

Liberty- Sarlin Library: 15 S. Palmetto St, Liberty, SC 29657

Pickens- Village Branch Library: 124 N. Catherine St, Pickens, SC, 29671

Clemson University: 105 Sikes Hall, Clemson, SC 29634

The Volunteer Protection Act of 1997 protects volunteers from liability for negligent acts they perform within the scope of their responsibilities in the organization for which they volunteer. The Act excludes conduct that is willful or criminal, grossly negligent, or reckless, or that constitutes a conscious, vagrant indifference to the rights or safety of the individual potentially harmed by the volunteer. If volunteers are performing their responsibilities under the Volunteer Standards of Conduct, they are protected.

All volunteers are asked to arrive at the Free File location 10-15 minutes before their scheduled volunteer time. When arriving, please be sure to sign in with your Site Coordinator. If volunteering at a Free File site for the first time, please remember to bring your photo ID to verify your identity. Your Site Coordinator will direct you from there.

The average return you will prepare will be relatively simple, consisting of W2s and Social Security Income. The Free File program has limitations on what volunteers can and cannot prepare. The "out-of-scope" returns will be referred to a professional tax preparer.

Most taxpayer appointments will be scheduled at 1-hour intervals. Although it probably will not take you an hour to complete a return, this ensures that you have enough time for each return and are not rushed.

Volunteers will only prepare returns that are within the scope of their training. At each site there are very knowledgeable volunteers, as well as your Site Coordinator who will be able to provide assistance if needed. Also, please keep in mind that Publication 4012 (Volunteer Resource Guide) can be used as reference material. Please do not hesitate to ask your Site Coordinator if you are unsure about the complexity of a tax return or if something seems unusual or questionable regarding the tax return. It’s okay to ask questions.

Every return goes through a Quality Review process, ensuring that each return is prepared correctly. The Free File program has several steps in place to help ensure accuracy. First, taxpayers will initially be screened by Intake Specialists (or "Greeters") when entering the location. The Intake/Interview process ensures that the information entered into the TaxSlayer software is correct. The return will then undergo the Quality Review process by your Site Coordinator or a volunteer certified at the appropriate level. Before any return is submitted, it is printed and reviewed with the taxpayer. Basically, three sets of eyes review every return before it is submitted. Also, the TaxSlayer software will not allow any tax return to be submitted if the information provided is incomplete or inconsistent.

Please contact Nicole Zeiset, (864) 850-7094 x131, of your planned absence as soon as possible so that other arrangements can be made. Remember, appointments get booked in advance so the sooner we know of absence the sooner we can find replacement coverage.

Generally, Free File sites will follow the Pickens County Library system lead if closed due to inclement weather. However, certain Free File sites may open as scheduled if volunteers and Site Coordinators feel they are able to safely arrive at the Free File Site. All closings and openings are ultimately at the discretion of the Free File Program Coordinator.

Certification FAQ's

Yes! The test is open book and untimed. You can use forms, instructions, and other reference material to take the test. Publication 4012 (Volunteer Resource Guide) will be the best reference material for you to successfully complete your test. You will need to complete the test on your own. There are study sessions available, and you can always contact the Free File program staff if you need assistance or guidance.

The passing score for each test is 80%.

You are allowed a total of 2 attempts for each test. If you do not pass the first test, you can take the Retest. Both tests can be found in PUB 6744 Test Book.

In this event, you can still volunteer with the Free File program. Please contact the Free File Program staff on how you can still be involved with the Free File Program.

Yes, all certification is done online at This enables you to submit your test electronically as well as save, print and sign your Volunteer Agreement. It is recommended that volunteers use the scenario information in the Form 6744 Test Book to answer all of the questions and prepare practice returns in the Practice Lab first, then log into the test at and enter your answers.

After you have successfully completed your certification exam, you will need to sign the Volunteer Standards of Conduct Agreement (aka Volunteer Agreement) and send it to the program manager or Site Coordinator as instructed.

Yes. On the right hand of the certification screen, there is a checkbox to indicate that you would like to electronically sign your Volunteer Agreement. Once you do that, save it to your computer then send it to your program manager or Site Coordinator as instructed as an email attachment.

Yes, because tax law changes every year, volunteers must pass the certification every year that they wish to volunteer with Free File.

Users can have both screens open but the online test will time-out if there is a period of inactivity. It is recommended that volunteers use the scenario information in the Form 6744 Test Book to complete the returns in the Practice Lab first, then log into the test on and enter your answers

Ready to volunteer?

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