Finding Community Through Service With The Free Tax Preparation Campaign

By United Way of King County, on October 27, 2020 | In Breaking the Cycle of Poverty, Volunteering

Tax season is right around the corner, and for a lot of people in King County, that means adding the stress of preparing taxes to an already stressful year. There is hope for tax relief in the refunds and credits many taxpayers are entitled to, and the Free Tax Campaign is helping make that relief a reality without charging clients a cent.

We recently connected with Josh Freese, a long-time volunteer with the Free Tax Campaign, to talk a little about his history as a free tax preparer. Take a look at what he had to say below, and if you want to become a volunteer yourself, sign up here.

How did you get started with the Free Tax Campaign?
I got started in 2014 (6 years ago!). When I was in college, I did some volunteer work preparing taxes, so I was really excited when a coworker recommended the Free Tax Campaign. I was incredibly happy to do taxes on a much larger scale, and I was able to be a site manager in the next year.

What was your first year like? Did you learn anything that surprised you?
My first year was great! It was at the Phinney Ridge Community Center. We had wonderful people show up and our team was astounding. It was the first time I felt like I was making connections in Seattle. I was surprised by how busy it was and how important the service was to so many.

Can you tell us about an experience in your volunteer work with the Free Tax Campaign that made you feel more connected with your community?
In one past season, I worked with a client whose sister had recently died, and was dealing with financial challenges related to her care. Working with this person, helping them find the tax refund that would alleviate that financial stress, was the most connected I’ve ever felt to my community.

Why do volunteer work? What’s your number one reason for volunteering?
The continuing injustices that so many of ourneighbors face are staggering. I wanted to be able to do something to help. Filling out tax returns won’t change the world, but when we file those returns and those refunds go out, it’s easy to see that it makes a difference.

If you’d like to volunteer, you can sign up here!


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