Just Harvest recruiting volunteers to prepare tax returns


December 6, 2011

Just Harvest, the United Way of Allegheny County and the Money In Your Pocket Coalition need help this tax season to provide free tax preparation assistance for low-income individuals and families in Allegheny County.

Over the past three years, 242 students, professionals, and retirees dedicated over 11,000 hours to serve neighbors in need. In just three tax seasons, volunteers prepared 14,756 tax returns and helped return $23.7 million in tax refunds back to local residents, including $9.2 million in Earned Income Tax Credits.

For the taxpayers served, these tax refunds helped put food on the table, pay off debt, make rent or mortgage payments, and pay for heat and electricity during Pittsburgh's winter months.

They are reaching out to all of their supporters to ask them to consider volunteering this year. Learn more about the free tax campaign at http://www.pghfreetaxes.org.

Those who have experience doing their own tax returns (or just want to learn) are needed. Tax preparation volunteers make a three hour a week commitment for the tax season, have basic computer skills, enjoy working with others, and successfully complete tax training and IRS certification (provided by the MIYP Coalition free of charge).

For 2012, they are offering a variety of training options. In general, new volunteers complete 16 hours of training. This year, volunteers with accounting experience and some student volunteers may be eligible for Fast Track trainings which require some advance self-study.

They have also added some evening training for basic federal tax law. Once a volunteer has confirmed their commitment to a tax site, Just Harvest will work with the volunteers to register them for the training that best suits their experience level and schedule.

Also new in 2012 – CPE credits can be awarded for CPAs who complete training and volunteer at least 15 hours at their tax site. They should be sure to indicate their interest in learning more about receiving these credits by checking the ‘Continuing Education' box on your application.

The short-term time commitment is three or more hours per week from January-April. Scheduling is easy, and includes daytime, evening, or weekend hours.

Free Tax Site Locations: Downtown; East End; Lawrenceville/ Sharpsburg; Monroeville/ Mon Valley; Natrona Heights; Northside/ North Hills; Oakland / Hill District; South Side; and, West End.

Visit http://www.pghfreetaxes. org to download the volunteer application form (it's linked under the ‘Volunteer' tab at the top of the page), Email it back to the Money in Your Pocket Coalition as an attachment at freetaxes@uwac.org or print it out and fax it to 412-456-6893.

Completed applications are due by December 31. Those with questions or need more information, should email the Money in Your Pocket Coalition at freetaxes@uwac.org or call 412-456-6785.


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