Volunteer for Free Tax Prep

Help us fight poverty with free tax preparation! 

Volunteer to help people keep more of what they earn by leveraging some incredible anti-poverty tax credits and preparing their taxes for free.

Our Free Tax Prep will be in-person this year at some great new locations throughout the county. You’ll be fully trained and IRS-certified. Together, we’ll help thousands of our neighbors  tap into all the tax credits they qualify for and avoid high fees.


How it Works


From January through April, United Way of King County volunteers will offer free tax preparation assistance for the community. We will have a mix of in-person and virtual volunteer opportunities, which may be reviewed below.  All opportunities will require IRS VITA tax law certification. Once you register for an opportunity we will contact you about next steps.

Free Tax Prep volunteer reading a tax sheet

In-Person Tax Preparation Specialist

In-Person Tax Preparation Specialists will provide tax preparation onsite at one of several locations throughout the community.

Two free tax prep volunteers smiling

In-Person Community Intake Specialist

In-Person Community Intake Specialists will be a critical component of maintaining health protocols and site flow at our tax sites.

Volunteer doing remote work at home laptop

Virtual Tax Preparation Specialist

Virtual Tax Preparation Specialists will prepare tax returns virtually through an online case management environment.

Every shift, whether virtual or in-person, will be supported by one or several Tax Service Managers who will review volunteer work, ensure all returns are prepared accurately and completely, answer high-level client or tax questions, manage physical and sanitary supplies, and oversee general site operation and safety.


What it Takes


You do not need any prior knowledge or training to volunteer, though if you are interested in a virtual opportunity you MUST have a high degree of computer literacy, a stable internet connection, and be willing and able to communicate with clients by phone. In general, it is important that our tax volunteers have a friendly attitude, a willingness to be flexible, have general computer experience, and are willing to commit to three to six hours of service a week.

  • In-Person Tax Preparation Specialists will be required to obtain Advanced IRS Tax Law VITA certification. They will be on site in one of our locations across King County and will be directly interfacing with the community as they prepare client tax returns.
  • The Community Intake Specialist will assist at our tax sites by maintaining client waitlists, answering questions, providing connections to other community resources, and ensuring that client contact lists are complete if the need for contact tracing due to COVID-19 arises.
  • Virtual Tax Preparation Specialists will be required to obtain Advanced IRS Tax Law VITA certification. They will prepare tax returns and interface with clients via their own personal computers through the Free Tax Preparation Campaign’s end-to-end case management tool.

As a volunteer you will be helping neighbors in your community get the tax returns and credits they deserve while ensuring their safety and well-being during these uncertain times. Ability to speak another language is helpful, but not required. Languages in high demand include Spanish, Amharic, Vietnamese, Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese), Russian, Ukrainian, Somali, and Tagalog.

Once you sign up to volunteer you will receive a confirmation email and a welcome packet in the mail with resources for your service. Your confirmation email will provide more guidance for receiving training, taking your exam, and working with your team. Thank you for considering being part of the United Way of King County Free Tax Preparation Campaign.

Still have questions? Check out the FAQs below. If you do not find an answer to your question, email us at freetax@uwkc.org


FAQs


How many shifts do I need to sign up for, and how long are they?

You can sign up for as many shifts as you want! The minimum commitment is one, 3- to 6-hour shift per week.

When does the position start and end?

Our tax season will start January 3rd and will end on April 18, 2022.

What happens after I register?

After you register, you will hear from a team member who will let you know about next steps and will provide links to training material.

How does training work this year? Is there an option to train virtually? If I train virtually, do I need to go to a physical, in-person training?

This year we are offering two models of training: you can train in-person with one of our tax trainers or you can do self-study through the IRS Link and Learn platform. In-person training will be conducted in a 16-hour period split between 2 days. We will offer multiple training slots through December and January. These trainings will be offered over weekends. Self-study can be done any time and does not require any in-person training.

Is there a deadline for obtaining virtual training certification?

Yes. You must have obtained your certification before you can volunteer for the tax campaign, either virtually or in-person. Please complete your training before December 21st, 2021.

How long will training take?

In-person training will be conducted over the course of 16 hours split between two days. Self-study is self-paced, but training generally takes anywhere between a half-day and one week depending on previous tax experience.

How do I access online IRS training?

We will provide this information once you register.

What kind of equipment do I need for training and my tax preparation volunteer role?

If you are interested in volunteering virtually, you will need constant access to a personal computer, a phone, and a stable password-protected internet connection.

If you are interested in training virtually, you will need access to a personal computer and a stable internet connection.

If you are interested in in-person tax preparation, all supplies (including a computer) will be provided to you.

What if I fail the IRS Link and Learn certification test?

You have two attempts to complete certification correctly. You must score above 80% to pass. If you do not feel confident in retaking the test, please reach out to your contact within the free tax campaign so that we may connect you with a trainer and additional resources.

What if I don’t have a computer?

If you do not have a computer, please consider becoming an in-person tax preparation specialist. You must have access to a computer to be a virtual tax preparer.

Will I need to buy any software?

No.

Will I need to serve in-person?

No, there are in-person and virtual options for volunteering.

What are you doing to increase safety during the COVID-19 pandemic?

All in-person events will be scrutinized by staff trained in risk assessment and will follow local health and safety guidelines. PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and sanitary supplies will be provided on site.

What security steps is United Way taking to ensure my privacy and my clients’ privacy?

The Free Tax Preparation Campaign follows strict IRS guidelines to protect the security of all client and volunteer information. Following these guidelines is critical to maintaining our IRS certification. IRS security guidelines can be reviewed in Publication 4299, at https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p4299.pdf.


Thank you to our generous sponsors:

Free Tax Sponsors for 2020