Volunteers needed to help prepare tax returns
County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and United Way of Allegheny County announced the county’s 2013 free tax preparation campaign and issued a call for volunteers to help financially-struggling residents file their federal, state, and local tax returns this tax season.
Now in its fifth year, the free tax preparation campaign helps low and middle-income workers maximize their tax refunds by claiming valuable state and federal tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC). Services are provided free of charge, offering clients a cost-saving alternative to expensive commercial tax preparation fees.
From January 21 through April 15, 2013, volunteers will help Allegheny County residents whose annual incomes do not exceed $20,000 for an individual or $40,000 for a household that can claim at least one dependent.
The coalition hopes to recruit a team of more than 150 students, retirees, and professionals who can commit to volunteering at least three hours per week at one of 11 tax sites. Volunteers must also be able to dedicate a weekend in January to be trained and certified in the basics of IRS tax preparation. Previous experience is not necessary. Those who have experience preparing their own taxes are encouraged to apply.
“The Earned Income Tax Credit was created to assist hard working people struggling to make ends meet, but it is estimated that only 75 percent of those eligible actually apply,” said County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “United Way of Allegheny County’s Free Tax Preparation Campaign aims to educate local citizens about their taxes, and assist with filing, so that tax refunds are not left unclaimed.”
“During the 2012 tax season, the Money In Your Pocket Coalition prepared more than 6,000 tax returns and delivered $10.6 million in tax refunds back to Allegheny County residents, including $4.4 in Earned Income Tax Credits. More than 150 community volunteers participated in the effort,”said Bob Nelkin, United Way of Allegheny County president and chief professional officer. “To help more people, we simply need more volunteers,”
For more information about the Free Tax Preparation Campaign or to apply to become a volunteer, visit the MIYP Coalition website at www.pghfreetaxes.org or Dial 2-1-1.