Join United Way’s Free Tax Preparation Campaign in the Fight against Poverty!
Tax season is just a couple months away, which means United Way of King County’s Free Tax Preparation Campaign is actively seeking volunteers to join us for another impactful season. This is the perfect opportunity if you have been thinking about how to get involved in a cause that can make a positive impact in your community or someone’s life!
From January through April, we offer free walk-in tax preparation assistance at 33 locations across King County. We also connect people to savings opportunities and public benefits and have the exciting opportunity to help clients with the 2020 Census Questionnaire.
Seniors and retirees are an important factor in the success of our campaign by contributing extensive and valuable work experience. Your lifetime experience and talents make you outstanding volunteer with the ability to make a difference in communities across King County.
Sound good so far? Continue reading to learn more about these exciting opportunities!
The Free Tax Preparation Campaign is one of the largest Volunteer Income Tax Assistance programs in the nation and the largest in Washington state. Programs like ours play an important role in reducing poverty and empowering people’s lives in our community. For many who come to our sites for help, tax credits and refunds are critical to meet some of their basic needs like keeping food on the table and a roof over their heads. Last tax season, we helped almost 22,000 people file returns and brought over $30.1 million back to the community in tax refunds and credits.
Tax time is also the perfect time to get connected to public benefits and resources to help make the most of refunds and get started on a long-term savings plan. Last season, we made over 4,000 referrals to programs such as Basic Food, ORCA LIFT, financial coaching, and utility discounts. With the 2020 Census coming up, we have a brand new and very exciting opportunity.
In 2020 only, our intake volunteers will not only help clients have the best experience while at our tax sites and connect them to important resources, they will also help them prepare for and complete the 2020 Census Questionnaire. This is important to our region, and especially to communities of color and immigrant communities that are typically underrepresented in census data. It’s important that our census data represents the true needs of our community. Census data is frequently used to determine program funding. Underrepresentation in the data can put vital programs at risk and people with very real needs at greater risk. Our Census and Benefits Navigators ensure that our clients can confidently complete the 2020 Census Questionnaire and support ongoing access to community resources.
In addition to playing an important role in ensuring future support, our volunteers always have a wonderful experience. One Shoreline Hopelink volunteer shared what they enjoy most about volunteering with United Way’s Free Tax Preparation Campaign:
“Meeting and connecting with new people every week. While nobody likes doing their taxes, I tried to make the experience as pleasant for them as I could.”
In 2020, from January 13 to April 18, we invite you to join us for a weekly shift. Volunteers can choose between Tax Preparer or the brand-new Census and Benefits Navigator positions. No prior experience is necessary—training is provided!
While volunteers are needed at all King County locations, more help is typically needed in Auburn, Burien, Kent, SeaTac, and Tukwila. We encourage you to participate, share your experience, and help grow our campaign. Our volunteers truly make a difference!
For more information and sign up to volunteer, visit www.uwkc.org/taxvolunteer.
Contributor Cheyenne Stolmeier is the Free Tax Campaign Associate at United Way of King County. Questions? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared in the November 2019 issue of AgeWise King County.