Free tax program incorporates financial coaching opportunities

FINDLAY, OH (Feb. 16, 2024) — A new collaboration between United Way of Hancock County and the Habitat for Humanity of Findlay/Hancock County’s Financial Opportunity Center (FOC) is enhancing the economic benefits for clients utilizing the United Way’s free tax preparation service.

Representatives from the FOC will be stationed twice a week through tax season at the check-in table for the United Way’s free tax service, called VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance), in the basement of the Findlay-Hancock County Public Library. Here, FOC staff will greet clients and share additional resources for stabilizing and advancing their personal finances.

“The presence of the FOC experts at our free tax site is an incredible resource that we are so proud to offer to our community,” said Angela DeBoskey, CEO of United Way of Hancock County. “This collaboration is a direct reflection of our Financial Stability Initiative, which seeks to put every person in Hancock County on a path toward financial empowerment. The initiative is comprised of three pillars — personal income stabilization, financial education, and collaboration and strategic partnerships — that are being fully reflected by this cooperative effort with the FOC.”

FOC manager Dustin Fuller said representatives from his organization will be present from 1-3 p.m. Wednesdays and 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursdays through the close of the VITA program in mid-April. He said the purpose of the FOC is to provide individualized, long-term support and empowerment to families looking to increase their financial health and stability, making the free tax service a perfect fit.

“VITA offers us a great opportunity to get in front of people we might not otherwise get in front of,” Fuller said. “We want to connect with people and help them be successful however they define success.”

He said tax season offers a unique opportunity to counsel people on using their tax refund wisely, as this is the only time a year many people see some form of disposable income. He added that he was eager to team up with the local VITA program after having managed the FOC in Defiance and managing a VITA program in that county.

“I love the VITA program because its impact literally adds up to dollars and cents in people’s pockets,” he said, noting that some commercial tax preparer’s fees are so high that they cancel out an individual’s deserved tax refund.

The United Way’s free tax service made over $1 million in impact to community members in 2023, with nearly 1,500 state and federal returns filed by VITA volunteers. This year’s program capacity has been expanded and is expected to make an even greater impact.

Free tax appointments are available for individuals who live or work in Hancock County and whose combined household income is $64,000 or less. Appointments are available at the library and at 50 North and can be set by calling 567-250-1955.

The United Way also sponsors a free self-filing tax service in partnership with the IRS for households that earn under $79,000 annually. Visit to learn more about this online program for state and federal filings.