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Volunteer Income Tax Assistance

Volunteer for Free Tax Prep 2018

United Way’s Free Tax Preparation Program is an IRS-approved VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program. VITA programs focus on serving low-income populations. The average household using our service in 2016 earned just over $25,000 during the prior year. These families frequently pay $50, $100 or even upwards of $300 for basic tax return filing through paid preparers, and they often miss out on tax credits available to lower income working people including the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credits. Last year 3,751 tax returns were filed for neighbors making an average of $26,567 for a grand total of $5,041,434 in refunds that returned to the pockets of hard-working Snohomish County residents.
For a full report of last year's results, download a copy of our 2017 Free Tax Preparation Campaign Report.
Being a VITA program means that all of our volunteers receive thorough training and pass tests in ethics and basic tax law topics to  ensure high-quality service for families and individuals. Volunteer trainings are held multiple times in December and January, and are designed to get you up to speed, even if you're new to doing taxes.
This year, United Way is launching a Drop-Off Model for its Free Tax Prep. A national model from VITA, drop off locations increases access to related resources, reduces wait times, and expands free tax prep services to rural areas!

Position Descriptions

Tax Counselor

  • Welcome taxpayers at a drop-off location
  • Collect all associated paperwork from taxpayers during the 20-minute in-person interview 
  • Answer tax-related questions to determine all income, deductions, and allowable credits are claimed 
  • Recognize tax returns that are out of scope for the program
  • Process all associated paperwork for off-site preparation
  • Assist taxpayers with the filing process
Tax Counselors have a basic knowledge of tax law and become IRS-certified to assist taxpayers with the drop-off process. (Training provided. Download training dates.)
Download a full Tax Counselor position description.
Tax Preparer
  • Work in tandem with tax counselors to prepare previously screened returns that are dropped off during the week
  • Prepare taxpayer returns at Edmonds Community College (Edmonds / Lynnwood) or United Way of Snohomish County (Everett)
  • Upload completed returns to a secure electronic drive to be picked up by taxpayers at the corresponding drop off location

All volunteer tax preparers become IRS-certified to prepare tax returns for households. (Training provided. Download training dates.)

Download a full Tax Preparer position description.


Sign Up To Volunteer

Sign up to volunteer for free tax preparation

Sign up here to volunteer as a Tax Preparer or Tax Counselor at locations throughout Snohomish County.


United Way of Snohomish County: Free Tax Preparation Timeline

Doing good is good for you!

  • Learn new skills and receive free training in tax topics
  • Build your resume and professional references
  • Earn volunteer hours
  • Network with other volunteers 
  • Be invited to an end-of-year celebration for you and a guest 
  • Help people get back more of what they earn!


Are you looking to learn more about getting your taxes done?



Didn't find the answer you were looking for? Contact Lynsey Gagnon, Manager of Impact Integration, at or 425.374.5526.

Leah's Story

United Way of Snohomish County: LeahLeah is a single mom living in Everett with her nine-year-old daughter. Leah started working and paying taxes at the age of 18, and every year she would struggle to file them herself or have to pay someone upwards of $200 to file for her.

“Since using United Way’s free tax preparation in 2009, I have always received my maximum refund. I love getting help from United Way; their services are fast and accurate.”

A couple of years ago was extra special, because Leah filed to become an American citizen through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services and was sworn in April 19th. Filing for citizenship is expensive, Leah was able to use her tax refund to help pay for the filing process, and still have a cushion of money for her daughter.


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