FORT MYERS, Fla. (September 20, 2018) – The United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades, and Okeechobee is seeking volunteer tax preparers, interpreters, and greeters to help our Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites during the 2018 tax season. With the support of trained, IRS-certified volunteer tax preparers, VITA sites provide free tax preparation to individuals and families earning less than $66,000 per year throughout the five county area of Lee, Hendry, Glades, Okeechobee and Charlotte Counties.

Volunteers of all ages and levels of experience are welcome, though all volunteers need to be comfortable working with a computer. There is a special need for bilingual Spanish speakers. Flexible hours are available January through April. Volunteers will receive specialized IRS certified training including learning how to prepare basic tax returns, using online tax preparation software, and learning about tax deductions and earned income tax credits that benefit eligible taxpayers. In addition, experienced agents, certified financial planners, and non-credentialed tax return preparers can earn continuing education credits when volunteering as a VITA tax preparer.

“For the past eleven years, VITA volunteers have made a real difference in the lives of people in our community,” said Cliff Smith, President of United Way. “Volunteers who come back year after year tell us the VITA program is very rewarding because they connect with members of our community and empower families to achieve economic success.”

Last year, 150 volunteers helped file nearly 5,000 federal tax returns, bringing over $6.7 million dollars in federal tax refunds back to the local community through the United Way VITA program. In addition, United Way VITA clients saved the cost of tax preparation by a commercial service which totaled over $1.2 million.

An orientation and training class for new volunteers will be offered November 17th at Florida Gulf Coast University. For tax professionals or experienced volunteers, an online training and certification tool is available. Interested parties can register online at https://www.unitedwaylee.org/become-vita-volunteer/ , contact Patrice Cunningham at Patrice@UnitedWayLee.org, or call 239.433.7557.

The United Way Volunteer Center connects individuals and companies to volunteer opportunities throughout our community. You can find additional volunteer opportunities by visiting the United Way website at www.UnitedWayLee.org.

This article was submitted by a Guest Author of the Above Board Chamber.