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Free Tax Preparation

United Way of Snohomish County's Free Tax Preparation Campaign

In its 13th year, United Way's Free Tax Preparation Program (a.k.a. Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, or VITA) offers FREE tax help to people who make $55,000 or less. We know that taxes can be complicated, and other tax preparation services can cost upwards of $400. Let us help you file your taxes for free!

IRS-certified volunteers will prepare your taxes for you at no cost. Our Free Tax Prep Program focuses on making sure families access the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Child Tax Credit, and other credits important to young children and their families with low income. 

Since its inception, our Free Tax Program has helped save local families more than $3 million in filing fees and costs, as well as securing $42 million in refunds and valuable tax credits for tens of thousands of families.


Why use United Way's Free Tax Prep?

Certified by the IRS, our volunteers go through rigorous training and extensive testing to make sure tax returns are prepared correctly and are submitted securely.

Tax returns are filed electronically through United Way’s Free Tax Preparation Program, ensuring quick turnaround times for receiving refunds, and at no cost to the taxpayer.

Did you know that, when you pay for a rapid refund, you are actually taking out a loan? Sometimes those loans charge you up to $400 in interest, in addition to the up-front fees! We provide a free alternative to other places that charge you a high fee to get your refund. Why pay for tax preparation when you can get it done free? You earned it—it belongs in your pocket!

How does it work?

IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified families and individuals. This year, we will offer three tax prep options:

  1. Families and individuals - walk-in, in-person tax prep: Walk into a tax site and ask about open time slots. Returns are prepared on the hour, each hour sites are open. Please arrive 10 minutes before the hour to check in. Appointments take priority and wait times will vary. There is no guarantee of availability for walk-ins.
  2. Families only - drop-off tax prep: Drop off tax information, sign forms, and pick up completed taxes one week later. No appointment necessary. Wait times will vary. Only available at Edmonds Community College in Lynnwood, on Mondays at St. Vincent de Paul in Monroe, or on Saturdays at Hand in Hand in Everett.
  3. Families only - in-person tax prep with appointment: Make an online appointment on a first come, first served basis. Appointments are for in-person filing only. Expect up to 1 hour to complete taxes on-site. Make an online appointment today!

When do tax sites open?

The IRS announced that it will not start processing tax returns until Monday, Jan. 28 due to the government shutdown. United Way of Snohomish County’s free tax preparation sites will open, as normal, on or after Tuesday, Jan. 22 (see our list of site times for details). Staff will be on site that week to begin preparing tax returns for walk-ins and appointments, but there will be a delay in returns until after the official IRS start date. Dropped off tax returns will not be accepted until after Monday, Jan. 28.

More on IRS' website.

What are the benefits of drop-off tax preparation?

In the last few years, VITA has explored and honed the drop-off model and this is United Way of Snohomish County’s second year offering this option. This new way of tax prep makes it easier for families and individuals to get their taxes done without spending hours at a tax site. Benefits include the following:

  • Reduced wait times, which is more conducive to family schedules
  • Increase access to other related resources, as a majority of sites are integrated with community hubs

I want to get my taxes done! What do I need to know?

Snohomish County Hours and Locations

Below are the hours and locations for each of our seven tax sites:

Edmonds Community College
Mountlake Terrace Hall, Room 206
20000 68th Ave. W, Lynnwood
Jan. 22 - April 15**
Mon., Tues., & Thurs., 5 - 8 p.m.*
Fri., 2 - 6 p.m.*
Have young children? Make an appointment
Everett - Goodwill
South Everett Goodwill Job Training & Education Center
Mon., Tues., & Wed. 5:30 - 8:30 p.m.*
Have young children? Make an appointment
Everett - Hand in Hand
Hand in Hand
14 E Casino Rd., Bldg. E, Everett
an. 22 - April 13**
Tues., Thurs., & Sat., 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.*
Have young children? Make an appointment
Everett - United Way
United Way of Snohomish County
Sun., 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.*
Have young children? Make an appointment
St. Vincent de Paul
17150 W. Main St, Monroe 
an. 23 - April 15**
Mon., 4 - 7 p.m.*
Wed., 4 - 7 p.m.*
Sat., 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.*

Have young children? Make an appointment
Stanwood Community Resource Center
9612 271st Pl, Stanwood
an. 23 - April 13**
Wed., 5 - 8 p.m.*
Have young children? Make an appointment
Last client of the day will be taken 1 hour before close.
**  Drop-off prep ends March 30.
Visit United Way of King County's website for information on sites in King County.

Will I still be able to talk to someone about my taxes?

Yes! IRS-certified Tax volunteers will be at each of our tax sites. You may also leave a message on our customer call line at 425.374.5530 and one of our tax site managers will call you back with answers to your questions.

Do I qualify for Free Tax Prep through United Way?

You are eligible if you earn $55,000 a year or less; you did not earn income from rentals or military; you didn't have any business losses; and your business expenses totaled less than $25,000 in 2018.


Do I qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit?

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a refundable tax credit issued by the federal government to lower-income taxpayers. To claim the EITC, the IRS requires that you earn regular income from a job in the form of wages, tips, commission and salaries. While the EITC is able to help many people, many who qualify for this credit, do not claim it. 

2018 Tax Year Adjusted Gross Income Limits for the Earned Income Tax Credit
Earned income and Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) must each be less than:
EITC Chart 2018

What documents do I need to bring with me to the tax site?

We cannot prepare your return unless you bring ALL required documentation. 

  • If filing jointly, both filer and spouse must be present to file electronically.  
  • Picture ID REQUIRED. Must be government-issued (e.g. driver's license, military ID, Medicare card)
  • Social Security card or ITIN number and dates of birth for everyone on your return REQUIRED.
  • W-2s or other income statements for you and your spouse from ALL your employers.
  • Form 1095-A, -B, or -C if anyone on your return had health insurance for any part of 2017. REQUIRED.
  • Any 1099 forms (for income from interest, dividends, retirement, social security, or unemployment).
  • Name, address, and taxpayer identification number of child care provider, if you pay for child care.
  • Records of student loan payments. 
  • Records of payments for educational expenses, such as college tuition.
  • Mortgage interest and property tax statements, if you own a home.
  • Bank account number for direct deposit.
  • A copy of last year’s tax return, if you have it.

How long will filing my taxes take?

Drop-Off: If you choose to drop off your taxes, within 7 days of drop-off your tax return will be completed and ready for your review. Simply return to the same location you visited originally to review your completed return, sign applicable documents, and take a copy of your return home with you. Our trained volunteers then e-file the return for you. It’s as easy as that!

Appointment: If you are a family with young children and make an appointment, you arrive at your assigned time and it can take up to 1 hour to complete your taxes in person. Limited appointments are available.

All walk-ins have the option for in-person tax preparation on a first come, first served basis. Space is limited based on availability. Drop off tax preparation is available for anyone who comes to a tax site.

Why can't I make an appointment if I'm filing taxes as an individual?

  • Our Free Tax Prep Program focuses on making sure families access the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Child Tax Credit, and other credits important to young children and their families with low income.  
  • Currently, there are no other Free tax preparation services in our community that is focused on families. However, there are other free tax prep services available for individuals, such as the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide (locations available on this interactive map) and United Way of King County's Free Tax Prep.
  • Wait times, and in some cases, return trips for families with young children can be especially difficult. We believe it is important to remove these barriers for families in our community.

What if I can't make it to a location during tax site hours?

You may file for free any time online at Or, drop your taxes off at another tax preparation site near you that has different hours. Visit or call 425.374.5530 for complete information on site locations and hours.

I want to volunteer! How can I help?

Visit for more information and sign up today!

What kinds of things would make me ineligible for Free Tax Prep through United Way?

We cannot provide help for:

  • Taxpayers with income above $55,000 in 2018
  • Taxpayers with rental income or royalties
  • Taxpayers involved in partnerships
  • Taxpayers who are business owners that made over $25,000 in business expenses in 2018
  • Married Filing Separately filing status
  • Military income
  • Moving expenses
  • Foreign or international income

I want to check the status of my refund. How can I do that?

Once your return has been filed, you can check your refund status with the IRS' Where's My Refund tool.

I need a copy of a previous year's return. Where can I get one?

Obtain a copy from the IRS.

Additional Tax Help

Need help outside of tax season?
The IRS provides information on a wide range of tax topics, including interactive tax assistance that helps with most questions on their Interactive Tax Assistant page on the IRS' website.

Having trouble resolving an issue with the IRS?
Contact the Local Taxpayer Advocate Service (nearest in Seattle) at 206.946.3707. More information on what the Taxpayer Advocate Service helps with can be found online here.

Have an ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number)?
You may need to renew it! If you do not, it may present problems with filing your tax return in 2019. Get a head start by referencing the press here:

What are your rights as a taxpayer?
Each and every taxpayer has a set of fundamental rights they should be aware of when dealing with the IRS. Explore your rights by reading the Taxpayer Bill of Rights.

Want to stay updated on the tax law changes coming in 2019?
Visit the Tax Reform webpage on the IRS website to find out what will be changing.


Contact or leave a message at 425.374.5530 and someone will get back to you.