Tax preparation volunteers needed during upcoming 2020 tax season

(Canton, OH) October 31, 2019 – United Way of Greater Stark County is now accepting applications for volunteer tax preparers for the upcoming tax season. No experience is necessary.

Individuals who participate in the 2020 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program receive training and IRS Certification appropriate for their volunteer position, as well as materials for self-study on basic income tax law for federal and state returns. In addition, several specific training sessions will take place prior to the kick-off of tax season, including training for the new software that will be used during the season, TaxSlayer. New this season, VITA accountant and attorney volunteers may be eligible to receive CPE and/or CLE credits Many volunteers have gone on to find jobs preparing taxes. Our volunteers prepare tax returns based upon information provided by the taxpayers therefore they are safeguarded under the Volunteer Protection Act.

Because VITA volunteers are trained to identify tax credits that have been overlooked by other tax assistance programs, the program brings a substantial amount of money back into the community each year that otherwise wouldn’t be in the community. This money stimulates the local economy, and the program helps people avoid the high cost of paid preparers and predatory lenders.

Last tax season, United Way of Greater Stark County and its 106 VITA volunteers helped income tax clients in Stark and Carroll counties collect over $3.8 million in tax credits and refunds. Volunteer tax preparers donated 2,685 hours of their time in 83 clinics and helped complete 5,425 Federal and State returns.

There are many different volunteer positions available within the VITA program, including tax preparation, leading a volunteer team, translating information into other languages, organizing taxpayer paperwork, or setting up computers. There’s always somewhere you can help based on your interest.

“The VITA program offers free tax preparation services to single filers who earn less than $65,000 a year and joint filers who earn less than $95,000 a year. Our IRS-certified volunteers will prepare and electronically file your federal and state tax returns, so you can quickly receive your tax refund,” explains Tami Stephens, VITA Site Coordinator. “This program is a great opportunity for anyone who wants to help residents file their taxes properly, but especially for local college students in need of volunteer hours or professional networking. Our participants gain valuable tax preparation knowledge, while helping local families get the maximum refund when they file. Volunteering with VITA is a rewarding experience. You get to see clients’ faces light up when you complete the process for them.”

Tax clinics are scheduled at multiple locations throughout Stark, Carroll and Tuscarawas Counties, so volunteer tax preparers and those filing tax returns have many opportunities to participate.

Clinic locations include Carroll County District Library, CSE Federal Credit Union, DoverPhila Federal Credit Union, Massillon Recreation Center, OhioMeansJobs (Stark & Tuscarawas Counties), Rodman Library (Alliance), Stark County District Libraries (Main, East Canton, Madge Youtz and Sandy Valley), Stark State College, United Way of Greater Stark County and Walsh University. Other sites may be announced throughout the season.

The clinics will start approximately January 29, 2020 and run through April 15, 2020. Clinic times may vary, based on location. VITA only accepts clients who have scheduled appointments. For an appointment please call 330-994-VITA(8482) beginning January 6, 2020. The appointment call center will be open Monday through Thursday, from 10:00AM to 5:00PM. VITA will accept dropped-off taxes at the United Way offices downtown, February 10 to April 6 on Mondays from 930AM – 530PM.

VITA will also hold events throughout the tax season that make it easier to accommodate residents’ busy schedules: a two-day tax-a-thon (January 31 & February 1) and two drive-thru drop-off events (February 29 & March 28).

The service was named “Ohio Benefit Bank Site of the Year” by the Ohio Association of Food Banks for the past 5 years. VITA was also voted one of the top three tax services in Stark County in The Canton Repository’s Readers’ Choice Awards in the past few years.

Anyone interested in volunteering should complete the online VITA volunteer registration form at www.uwstark.org/vita or contact Tami Stephens at 330-491-9989 or tami.stephens@uwstark.org.

About United Way of Greater Stark County
United Way of Greater Stark County fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community. We win by living United. By forging unlikely partnerships. By finding new solutions to old problems. By mobilizing the best resources. And by inspiring individuals to join the fight against their community’s most daunting social crisis. Our mission is to improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of our communities in Greater Stark County. In order to live better, we must live United. For more information about United Way of Greater Stark County visit www.uwstark.org. Offices are at 401 Market Avenue North, Suite 300, Canton, Ohio 44702. (330) 491-0445.