Josephine County UCAN-VITA and Tax-Aide is recruiting volunteer tax preparers for the upcoming tax season. Volunteers do not need to have any experience in income taxes, accounting or even math to assist. All necessary training is provided. Non-tax preparer greeter and scheduler positions are also available.
Two information sessions are planned; the first will be held on Thursday, November 17th in Grants Pass from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at the Grants Pass Library (200 NW C St), and the second on Saturday, November 19th in Cave Junction from 11-12 p.m. at the Illinois Valley Family Coalition (535 E River St).
Attendees will learn the details and responsibilities of the program, as well as the benefits of volunteering. Volunteer training will begin in December with live and Zoom sessions, as well as already available self-paced internet training modules. The tax season runs from Feb. 1 through April 15.
All volunteers pass certification tests to prepare them to provide tax help and every single tax return is reviewed by the most experienced tax preparers in the program to ensure correct returns. New volunteers will be provided with additional time and training as well as personal mentors to ensure their comfort in the process. Also, volunteers receive free tax preparation for themselves, their friends and families, and some reimbursement for mileage. Volunteers who serve as few as four hours a week can make a big difference for their community.
Sponsored by the IRS and AARP Foundation, UCAN-VITA and Tax-Aide provide in person and virtual tax assistance to anyone, free of charge, with a focus on taxpayers who have low to moderate income. Volunteers are located nationwide and are trained and IRS-certified every year to make sure they know about and understand the latest changes and additions to the tax code.
New volunteers join a close-knit group of tax volunteers who will be working and learning together to offer free tax preparation and filing for community members.
“Before the pandemic, we were filing nearly 2,500 returns a year between preparation sites in Grants Pass, Cave Junction and Rogue River,” said Kathie Saunders, Site Coordinator. “Since 2020, with the difficulties posed by the pandemic, we have lost more than half our volunteers and much of our in-person services. However, we have learned and adapted new ways to serve our community members and we were able to file about 1000 federal and state tax returns last year. Our goal this year is to build our volunteer numbers and hours of service for taxpayers in need.”
Volunteers can sign up at Joco-freetaxes.com or call UCAN-VITA at 541-956-4472. Tax preparation sites will open in February and continue through April 15.
UCAN-VITA and Tax-Aide provide FREE, IRS-certified tax preparation, filing and informational services for community members in Josephine County. Many low income and elderly individuals and families are missing tax credits of potentially thousands of dollars a year, due to the cost of tax preparation services: Child Tax Credit, Education Credit, Earned Income Credit and many other credits are lost every year as well as excess withholding kept by the IRS each year.