A necessary part of life, a refund that helps pay the bills, a puzzle to be solved, or a hurdle to conquer? Do you rejoice when you finally get the numbers all down on the sheet or does it keep you up at night wondering if you made a mistake?
One of the largest programs at The River Center is the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. Hundreds of local residents come to IRS-Trained volunteers to get their taxes done. Over the years, millions of dollars in returns have come back into our community.
People often find tax filing overwhelming and need the help of this program. Many want to file taxes and can’t afford to pay hundreds of dollars. Our VITA service provides a free alternative to paid tax preparers for low-income families.
Volunteer tax preparation helps Americans claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC), federal tax benefits that help workers care for their families, withstand unexpected economic changes, and reduce poverty.
We have two part-time River Center staff who are the site coordinator and scheduler for appointments, but all the rest is done by volunteers! Volunteers greet incoming folks and help them to get their paperwork filled in. Volunteers complete the tax returns, and quality review each one. It takes a village of people to offer this program.
Would you like to help? If you are analytical, detail-oriented and like to help people – you could be a tax preparer. It entails completing some IRS training on-line before the tax season begins in January. We have experienced preparers who can help answer your questions – they are an amazing bunch! Over the years we have had teachers, accountants, retired business people, and managers. They really like the concrete support they can provide to the community members who come in to have their taxes done.
You may be worried about learning tax law or using the tax preparation software. These are valid and common concerns that shouldn’t prevent you from volunteering. We will support you as you are learning to meet you at your current comfort level.
Many people mistakenly believe that you need to be a numbers person or have math/finance experience to become a tax preparer. This is not true! Doing taxes focuses more on building relationships between you and the client. If you like working with people, you’ll most likely enjoy preparing taxes.
You don’t need to be an expert. The tax software guides you through the process with an interview-style format for you to gather information from the client. If you forget something, the tax software will prompt you with a question.
If you have a few evenings or Saturdays and are willing to meet people, answer the phone, and be a calm presence then we can use your assistance as a greeter.
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss any of these options.