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Make a difference in the community by volunteering to prepare tax returns

Posted Jan. 31, 2020

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a man helps another man as they look at a computer
VITA volunteers receive training to provide free tax help for low- to moderate-income families who need assistance preparing their tax returns.

Do you enjoy helping others? Have a knack for numbers? Are you bilingual? Then serving as a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) volunteer could be the right role for you.

“It has enriched me greatly,” said local volunteer Joel Crenshaw, who found an article in the newspaper requesting volunteers to help low- to moderate-income families prepare tax returns, and knew he could provide a helping hand. He currently assists with tax preparation and said, “all volunteer positions are vital to the program.”

VITA volunteers can serve in four roles: greeters, interpreters, intake specialist and tax preparers.

Larry Klos has been volunteering with VITA for six years and also prepares tax returns.

“Previous tax knowledge, training or education is not required to prepare returns,” Klos said, “but thoroughness, patience and a friendly interaction are important.”

Volunteer training is provided by the United Way of Tarrant County, and Klos said the “training materials are good, and lots of written guidance is given.”

In 2020, the City of Fort Worth and United Way have a goal to prepare 5,000 returns, helping families receive more than $8 million in earned income tax credit.

“I encourage everyone to volunteer for the VITA program. It is a rewarding experience, and we get more from it than the taxpayer does,” Crenshaw said.

Register to volunteer online or by email.

Both Crenshaw and Klos say that volunteering with VITA has given them the opportunity to make a difference in their community and they value their experiences helping Tarrant County families.

To learn more, call 817-392-5698 or visit the VITA webpage.

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