“Free tax preparation through United Way changed my life. The refund I received from the IRS gave me the means to give back to our community, which changed my outlook on life, my career and my family.”
In 2008, Joni walked into a United Way Free Tax Preparation Site in Everett, and walked out with the largest refund she had ever received. With that money, she was able to pay her bills, financially support her two teenage daughters and, for the first time, give back to the community.
United Way of Snohomish County Free Tax Preparation Sites serve low-income Snohomish County residents. To date, volunteer tax preparers helped residents get back almost $15 million in refunds including almost $4.8 million through the Earned Income Tax Credit, saving taxpayers more than $1.5 million in preparation fees. The average income for those making use of the program is approximately $25,000 a year.
Before the large refund, Joni never felt she had the means to make an impact in the community. Joni gave part of the refund to the community fund at her church. “That was the first time I had ever given money to any organization. It felt so empowering, and I could see the impact my donation had on the community.” Ever since that first donation, Joni has been giving to the community frequently, and participates in community volunteer opportunities. “I’m happy that my daughters are seeing me give to the community. I can tell my actions are making an impression on them—they will definitely be givers.”
Joni now holds a stable job with the State of Washington, and has moved to a better neighborhood with her daughters. Most importantly, Joni continues to be active in the community, donating her time and money year-round.