FreeTaxPrep-Volunteer

Overview

Become a Free Tax Prep Volunteer
Help Local Families Save Money

Woman of color with two white men appearing in blue volunteer shirts

Each year, the United Way and hundreds of volunteers help families and individuals who earn less than $66,000 annually file their taxes for free. Last tax season, the Free Tax Prep program (also known as VITA) helped more than 4,000 families receive over $7.5 million in tax refunds. With your help, we can grow that number. No prior experience required beyond the passion for wanting to help our community!

Woman of color with two white men appearing in blue volunteer shirts

Each year, the United Way and hundreds of volunteers help families and individuals who earn less than $66,000 annually file their taxes for free. Last tax season, the Free Tax Prep program (also known as VITA) helped more than 4,000 families receive over $7.5 million in tax refunds. With your help, we can grow that number. No prior experience required beyond the passion for wanting to help our community!

With expectations that we will still have to deal with COVID restrictions, volunteers will have the option to participate in various roles depending on their comfort level with in-person contact or their personal preferences. Volunteers are not limited to one role. 

  • In-Person Service Tax Preparer Some of our traditional in-person service sites will be able to reopen during tax season. These sites will have updated procedures and guidelines to enforce everyone’s health and safety, such as requirement of face masks, social distancing, and availability of hand sanitizer. 
  • In-Person Drop-Off Facilitator Some of our locations will offer drop-off service for those clients who are unable to initiate the virtual tax preparation on their own. Volunteers at these sites will answer any initial questions from clients, reassure clients of the validity of the program, explain the process, and help upload clients’ information on the website. 
  • Virtual Tax Preparer Volunteers are able to connect to our online client software to download clients’ information to prepare returns from the safety of their own homes. Through the website, volunteers will be able to email, text, and call clients to complete a thorough interview/intake process to gather all information required to prepare a complete tax return. No in-person contact required. 

This year training will be provided through a combination of methods:

  • Self-directed instruction using online resources. Click the link below to access the online resources.
  • “Hot Topic” live webinars. Click the link below (COMING SOON) to register for these live trainings. All sessions will be recorded and available on our resource page below. 
  • Open Lab online sessions. Click the link below (COMING SOON) to register to attend the open lab sessions online. These sessions are available for you to ask any questions on any tax topic or about the program in general.

Online webinars will begin in November. Self-directed instruction materials will be updated late October. Please follow the links below to access materials and sign up for online sessions.

For more information, contact Me’Lisa James at mjames@uwccr.org.

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Photo of a young Black woman in a mask and eyeglasses making a heart shape with her hands. Text: Can you feel the love? Me'Lisa Tax Prep Volunteer

Sign Me Up as a Volunteer

Training can be completed through a combination of self-study and participation in online live sessions and online labs. 

If you choose to participate in the free tax prep program as a volunteer, please register below so that we may stay in touch with upcoming relevant information such as how to sign up for volunteer hours or virtual volunteering and how to submit your tax certifications.

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Training Resource Page

Follow these simple steps to train and certify to be a tax preparation volunteer.

STEP #1: MATERIALS TO HELP YOU STUDY

A variety of materials are available to help you complete your training and certify. If you are new to our program, we advise you begin with the orientation videos.

Session #1 

Blog
Asian woman wearing eyeglasses holding her 2 toddlers on her lap. One in a green shirt, one in a white shirt with colorful designs.

In Her Own Words
Meet Tax Prep Volunteer Dung Pham

What keeps you coming back to volunteer with the Free Tax Program year after year?

I have participated in the Free Tax Prep Program for four tax seasons from 2017 to 2020. I started when I was a second-semester student at Sierra College. As an Accounting student, my goal was to learn and get practical experience about Federal and State tax, the course I will take next semester.

However, after the first tax season, I fell in love with this program for three reasons: