Tax preparation volunteers

The United Way of Utah County is currently recruiting and training volunteers for their volunteer income tax assistance program for low-income families and individuals in the area, starting mid-January and ending mid-April.

The program needs three types of volunteers: intake specialists, tax preparers and educators. Each position has training available through on-site classes as well as online. All three positions create valuable opportunities and real application of skills students will learn in the classroom.

Tax preparers and intake specialists will work with the actual figures and numbers and are required to pass a certification exam. Decent math skills are preferred for tax preparers especially. Students majoring in accounting may find this volunteer position a way to gain some practical experience.

Educators and social work students would find the educator and intake specialist roles a good place to gain experience in their academic arena, as they would be the volunteers working face-to-face with the families in need. Educators will be given lesson plans and materials to perform their duties to instruct those in need of tax information.

"Since the program is from mid-January to mid-April, it is perfect for students to volunteer for the spring semester," said Bill Holsterstrom, president and CEO of United Way of Utah County. "It gives students the ability to make a difference and to connect to people and [have] experiences they would never had the chance to experience."

According to United Way, last year, the program’s volunteers helped Utah families get $4.6 million back on their income tax returns and hope that kind of success will continue. On average, the United Way figures that every volunteer hour of service in the tax preparation program brings approximately $1,000 back into Utah families’s pockets.

Volunteers interested in the income tax assistance program may contact the United Way of Utah County by calling (801) 374-2588 or by visiting the Web site with search keyword ‘tax.

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