Orange County United Way is seeking approximately 500 volunteers to participate in its annual Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program to help low-income families prepare their tax returns. VITA powers the OC Free Tax Prep campaign each year as part of Orange County United Way’s United for Financial Security Initiative, which empowers Orange County families to achieve financial wellness to get on the path from surviving to thriving.
Volunteers will be provided with in-person and online tax training and tools to become VITA-certified. Prior tax preparing experience is not necessary. With more than 30 program locations across the county, volunteers can serve in a geographically convenient site with flexible time commitments based on availability.
Volunteer roles include:
- Greeter: Welcomes taxpayers and assists with intake forms
- Tax Preparer IRS-certified VITA volunteer: Prepares electronic federal and state tax returns
- Interpreter: Spanish, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Farsi, Korean, and American Sign Language volunteers needed
- Tax knowledgeable experts: The role is for enrolled agents, CPAS and other professionals with tax knowledge. You will guide, answer tax questions, and ensure accuracy in filing
“We are dependent upon, and grateful for, the support of hundreds of selfless community volunteers who empower our OC Free Tax Prep program each year,” said Susan B. Parks, President and CEO, Orange County United Way. “There has never been a time when every penny and dollar count for our community’s low-income residents as during this ongoing pandemic. By giving their time and talents to this effort, these volunteers are providing critical support and easing some of the financial burden for these individuals and their families in very meaningful ways.”
OC Free Tax Prep was established in 2005 to help qualifying individuals keep more of their hard-earned money and increase the number of financially stable households in Orange County, and break the cycle of poverty. To date, the program has served more than 133,000 taxpayers, which amounts to more than $25 million saved in tax preparation fees.
In 2021 alone, Orange County United Way and its coalition partners filed more than 12,000 tax returns, securing $17.7 million in federal and state refunds for individuals and families.
Registration is now open, with volunteer training set to begin in November. Volunteer registration will continue through January 2022 and the OC Free Tax Prep program runs through April 2022.