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.
How It Works
From January through April, United Way volunteers offer free, walk-in tax preparation assistance at libraries, Goodwill stores, and other public sites across King County. Two types of volunteers are critical to the success of this program:
- Volunteer tax preparers walk clients through their taxes, making sure they receive all the credits they are eligible for.
- Volunteer intake and benefits specialists (VIBS) greet clients, help with paperwork, and connect clients to additional support, such as financial counseling and public benefits.
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 volunteer 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 for this year to attend two days of training for a comprehensive overview of the new TaxSlayer software—or complete most of their training online with one full day of in-person instruction.
- Volunteer intake and benefits specialists (VIBS) must complete one full day of training to learn the intake procedure for clients, how to screen for benefits eligibility, and how to refer clients to benefits and financial resources.
Still have questions? Email us at email@example.com.