Volunteers sought for free tax prep program

FINDLAY, OH (Jan. 9, 2024) — Volunteers are needed to help run a free tax preparation program that is expected to make up to $2 million in impact for the community.

United Way of Hancock County is seeking volunteer tax preparers and greeters for its free income tax preparation program, called VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance). This IRS program serves income-eligible individuals who live or work in Hancock County and may not otherwise be able to afford to have their taxes prepared and filed. The United Way is again collaborating with the Findlay-Hancock County Public Library and 50 North, who will host the service at their sites.

The 2024 VITA season will begin Feb. 5 and will continue into April, based on demand.

To qualify, an individual’s combined household income must be $64,000 or less. All clients must live or work in Hancock County. In addition, trained VITA volunteers will provide guidance to senior citizens who no longer need to file taxes.

The United Way is recruiting volunteers to serve as tax preparers and greeters at both the library and 50 North. Volunteers can work any number of hours they are available during whatever month or months they can. Morning and afternoon shifts are available Mondays through Fridays, plus Saturday mornings.

Tax preparers will prepare and electronically file taxes for clients. No accounting background is necessary, and volunteers can work through training online or may attend three in-person training sessions with the VITA site coordinator in January to become certified. All new volunteers will work with an experienced tax preparer until they are comfortable with the program.

Greeters are also needed to welcome clients as they arrive for appointments and check them in, and will ensure that clients have the necessary paperwork for tax preparation.

“This is a great opportunity to make a rewarding impact in the community,” said United Way of Hancock County CEO Angela DeBoskey. “We were happy to bring this free tax service back to Hancock County in 2023 and are thrilled to be able to expand our capacity again this year.”

The 2023 VITA season was limited to Hancock County residents and saw close to 1,500 state and federal tax returns filed by local volunteers. Over $1 million was returned to the local economy through state and federal tax refunds and earned income credits.

Beginning Jan. 22, community members may call the United Way office at 567-250-1955 to schedule their appointment. Callers will be asked a series of questions and will be informed of the items they must bring to their tax preparation appointment.

Contact Bridgit at accounting@uwhancock.org or call 419-423-1432 to sign up as a volunteer or for more information.