Free Tax Prep

Help hardworking, low-income individuals and families keep more of what they earn and save for the future.

Each year, United Way volunteers help thousands of low-income people prepare their taxes. For many clients, tax credits and refunds are critical to keeping food on the table and a roof overhead. Volunteers also connect people to savings opportunities and public benefits that they may not even know are available to them.

The Free Tax Preparation Campaign is part of a community-wide effort to help 50,000 people escape poverty by 2020. We know it works, and with your help we can continue to serve more people each year.

For 2020, you can also help people understand and prepare for the 2020 Census Questionnaire, including how to accurately and confidently fill it out.

How It Works

From January through April, United Way volunteers offer free, walk-in tax preparation assistance at libraries, Goodwill stores, community colleges and other public sites across King County.

Two types of volunteers are critical to the success of this program.

Tax Preparers

Volunteer Tax Preparers walk people through their taxes, making sure they receive all the credits they are eligible for.

Census and Benefits Navigators

Volunteer Census and Benefits Navigators help people get their tax paperwork in order, connect them to other financial services and help them understand and prepare for the 2020 Census Questionnaire, including how to accurately fill it out. 

Every site also has a staff manager who checks volunteer work, ensures all returns are done correctly, answers questions and keeps things running smoothly.

What It Takes

You do not need any prior knowledge or training to volunteer. The most important requirements are a friendly attitude and willingness to commit three to four hours a week from January through April. Good organizational skills are important, and tax preparers will need basic computer skills to learn our TaxSlayer software.

Ability to speak another language is helpful, but not required. Languages in high demand include Spanish, Amharic, Vietnamese, Chinese, Russian, and Tigrinya.

Training is offered on select weekends in December and early January:

  • New Tax Preparers must complete two full days of training to become IRS-certified and knowledgeable in tax law and our software.
  • Returning Tax Preparers are recommended to attend two days of training for a comprehensive overview of the TaxSlayer software—or complete most of their training online with a half-day of in-person instruction.
  • Census and Benefits Navigators must complete one full day of training to learn the intake procedure for clients, how to screen for benefits eligibility and how to help clients prepare for the 2020 Census Questionnaire, including question navigation.

Still have questions? Email us at

Thank you to our generous sponsors: