Some of the previous United Way Free Tax Preparation Volunteers. Photo credit United Way
United Way of Snohomish County is continuing to help people in Everett and beyond in innovative ways. One of which is the free tax preparation program. Now through the end of November sign ups are underway for volunteers in the 2015 program. Training classes will begin in December. Here’s a little more of what you need to know…
The Free Tax Preparation Program:
United Way of Snohomish County provides free tax preparation and access to the Earned Income Tax Credit and other tax credits to help working families increase their incomes and create savings. The Tax Program allows low-income people to keep more of their hard-earned money and avoid paying unnecessary fees for commercial tax preparation and also helps connect taxpayers to vital social programs. Being financially stable reduces the risk of becoming homeless, and strengthens our community.
Every year, this work is made possible by the commitment of dedicated volunteers who learn and apply tax law. In 2014:
- 100 volunteers dedicated 4,000 hours to the Free Tax Prep Program.
- Volunteers prepared 3,489 tax returns and helped return more than $5.8 million in Federal Refunds to the community, including $1.9 million in Earned Income Tax Credits.
- Volunteer time and knowledge saved customers over $575,000 in tax preparation fees.
- Our on-site Asset Specialists screened nearly 600 taxpayers for affordable health care, and another 500 taxpayers for basic food assistance.
Now is your chance to get involved!
We are currently recruiting volunteers for the 2015 tax season!
By volunteering with our program, you will help working families keep more of what they earn and save for the future! You will provide free tax return preparation to taxpayers in the community, including persons with a low to limited income, persons with disabilities, the non-English speaking and the elderly.
If you are having any difficulties registering to volunteer, please contact Funto Balogun at Funto.Balogun@uwsc.org to arrange for volunteer registration.
Who are we looking for?
Volunteers with previous tax preparation experience are always needed, but we are also looking for people who have:
- Computer experience, including data entry and/or tax preparation software.
- An eye for detail.
- A passion for learning and applying new skills to help others.
- The ability to work as part of a team.
- Any foreign language skills.
- A great attitude, patience, and general commitment to this volunteer role.
We also have positions available for people who don’t want to prepare taxes!
We need friendly, helpful people to look over taxpayer documents and make sure people are ready to receive tax preparation assistance. If this sounds like what you’re looking for, consider the Intake Volunteer position.
What do you need to do to volunteer?
Volunteering with the tax program is a substantial commitment compared to many other volunteer postings. Our program operates on a schedule, at assigned times and locations, and requires a considerable amount of training and knowledge. Requirements to volunteer include:
- Choose which role is best for you: Tax Preparer, or Intake Volunteer.
- Commit to volunteer for at least one shift per week, from January 20 until April 14, 2015.
- Shifts last between 3-5 hours.
- Volunteer opportunities are organized by location and shift times, daytime, evening and weekend shifts are available!
- Attend volunteer training, and/or passing the IRS VITA certification tests
- Tax preparing volunteers attend three training dates, over one week in December (see below for training dates, times and locations). Tax preparing volunteers must pass the IRS Standards of Conduct and Basic tax law certification tests.
- Intake volunteers attend one training date (January 3, 2015, time/location below) and must pass the IRS Standards of Conduct test.
- Have a great attitude, and a high degree of honesty.
- Volunteering with the tax program is fun because volunteers bring a positive attitude – this makes all the difference during a highly stressful time for the taxpayers we serve!
- The average tax refund claimed by one of our taxpayers last season was over $1,600 – through honest tax preparation our volunteers have the opportunity to give thousands back to those who work hard and need the money most!
Click here for additional details, schedules and complete information.