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Volunteer tax preparers sought

By Staff | Nov 1, 2017

The United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades, and Okeechobee is seeking volunteer tax preparers, interpreters, and greeters to help staff its Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites during the 2017 tax season. With the support of trained, IRS-certified volunteer tax preparers, VITA sites provide free tax preparation to individuals and families earning less than $64,000 per year throughout Lee County.

Volunteers of all ages and level of experience are welcome, but all volunteers need to be comfortable working with a computer. There is a special need for bilingual Spanish speakers. Flexible hours are available January through April. Volunteers will receive specialized IRS certified training including learning how to prepare basic tax returns, using online tax preparation software, and learning about the tax deductions and earned income tax credits that benefit eligible taxpayers. In addition, experienced agents, certified financial planners, and non-credentialed tax return preparers can earn continuing education credits when volunteering as a VITA tax preparer.

Last year, 136 volunteers helped file more than 3,900 federal tax returns, bringing more than $5.7 million dollars in federal tax refunds back to the local community through the United Way VITA program. In addition, United Way VITA clients saved the cost of tax preparation by a commercial service of over $800,000.

An orientation and training class for new volunteers will be offered Nov. 18 at Florida Gulf Coast University. For tax professionals or experienced volunteers, an online training and certification tool is available. Interested parties can register online at www.unitedwaylee.org/become-vita-volunteer/ , contact Patrice Cunningham at patrice@unitedwaylee.org or call 239.433.7557.