Spread the Tax Refund Love

Looking for an engaging volunteer opportunity to help families in your community and practice a new skill? United Way of King County is recruiting 1,000 volunteers for its Free Tax Campaign, which will serve thousands of lower-income tax clients in 2014.

Thanks to volunteers, the Free Tax Campaign is able to help hard-working, low-income people file their tax returns for free each year. United Way will operate 18 locations across King County from January 14 to April 15, 2014. IRS-trained and certified volunteers make sure people secure all of the refunds and credits for which they're eligible, including the Earned Income Tax Credit, which is cited as the largest anti-poverty tool in the U.S.

Multilingual tax preparers will be available at several sites to serve customers who do not speak English. Customers will also be able to sign up for health insurance and learn about opportunities to make the most of their tax refunds by opening or expanding savings accounts or putting a portion of their refund into a U.S. Savings Bond.

Older adults are encouraged to take part in the free tax preparation service or to sign up as a volunteer. The average Free Tax Campaign volunteer brings $30,000 to the grateful clients they serve during their volunteer shift. As a volunteer, you can learn a new skill—or keep your previous tax experience sharp—and work as part of a friendly, talented team.

No tax experience is needed—all that's required is being comfortable with computers and having a willingness to learn. Volunteers go through two days of training to learn everything they need to know and become IRS-certified.

If preparing taxes is not for you, you can sign up to be an Intake and Benefits specialist, serving as a greeter and connecting people to health care and essential public benefits.

In 2013, volunteers prepared 14,900 tax returns and helped return $22 million in federal refunds to the community, including $7.7 million in Earned Income Tax Credits. The tax campaign also saved King County residents more than $2 million in tax preparation fees.

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Help continue this amazing work! To volunteer with United Way of King County's Free Tax Campaign, e-mail EITC@uwkc.org or visit www.uwkc.org/taxvolunteer. If you'd like to speak to someone about registering via phone, call Lydia at 206-461-8582.

Contributor Yuri Kim manages Basic Needs Programs at United Way of King County, serving the most vulnerable in our community. Goals include ending hunger, connecting people to housing and benefits, increasing financial stability, and connecting families to community resources.