Serving Monroe, Owen, and Greene Counties

Volunteer for the Free Community Tax Service

Click Here to log your volunteer hours for Free Community Tax Service 2017

Download the 2018 Volunteer Packet here

Become a Free Community Tax Service Hero!

Interested in helping low- and moderate-income resident file their taxes for free and claim valuable tax credits? United Way of Monroe County and the Free Community Tax Service (FCTS) Team are seeking Tax Assistance Volunteers to serve at Free Community Tax Service sites in Monroe and Owen counties. The Free Community Tax Service provides free federal and state income tax preparation to local residents from January to April 2018. Volunteers work in an exciting, professional environment, screen clients in an intake and interview process, and prepare tax returns. Volunteers will receive training in income tax law and tax preparation to become IRS-certified.

The Free Community Tax Service helps residents file federal and state returns for no charge, claim the Earned Income Tax Credit, if eligible, and receive 100 percent of their refund quickly and easily, typically in ten days or less. Last year's efforts helped residents file nearly 2,400 tax returns. Low- and moderate-income residents in Monroe and Owen counties saved over $705,000 in tax preparation fees, allowing individuals to put the money saved toward important expenses like rent, groceries, utilities, and education.

Volunteers do not need to have any prior experience with preparing taxes, and will receive training and support in a positive, team-based environment.

After successfully completing one year of service as a Tax Preparer, volunteers are able to serve as Site Coordinators. Site Coordinators will manage Free Community Tax Service site operations and volunteers, conduct quality reviews of returns, and assist in the electronic filing of their federal and Indiana tax returns.

Recruitment of Volunteer Tax Preparers runs through November. Please know that spots for the upcoming tax season are typically filled by mid-December.


Mission
United Way works with member agencies and community partners to bring lasting change and improve people’s lives. We focus on the building blocks for a better life – Education for life and career, Earnings that allow people of all ages and abilities to be self-sufficient, and the Essentials (access to food, housing, health care, and emergency services).

There are three main goals for the FCTS program:

  • Promote tax understanding and awareness
  • Prepare accurate tax returns for free for qualified taxpayers
  • Encourage people to build their assets
     

Work Environment
Tax Volunteers will work primarily indoors in an office environment. The majority of work will be performed at the FCTS sites. The FCTS sites are located at organizations throughout Monroe and Owen counties.

Available Positions

Greeter:

FCTS Tax Site Greeters will welcome taxpayers to the site, thank them for coming, and check to make sure they have all the required documentation for their tax appointment. They’ll give clients an IRS intake form and help answer any questions the taxpayer has as they fill out the form. Then they will help assign the taxpayer to the next available and appropriately qualified Tax Preparer.

Tax Preparer:
FCTS Tax Preparers complete tax returns for taxpayers (returns are typically simple 1040 or 1040-Z), answering taxpayers’ questions, and maintaining confidentiality. The position involves using computer equipment and software, professional interactions with other volunteers and key partners, applying high ethical standards, and adhering to Internal Revenue Service policies, procedures, and guidelines.

 

Benefits

  • You will receive training in tax preparation
  • You will become IRS certified to prepare federal and state tax returns
  • You will gain valuable real-world experience preparing tax returns, serving clients, and networking with community members to make a measureable impact in our community!
  • Mileage reimbursement will be provided for site coordinators, tax preparers, and greeters working outside of Bloomington (Ellettsville and Owen County sites).


Skills and Qualifications

  • Interest in learning more about income tax law
  • Strong computer skills
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Ability to work independently
  • Ability to work well with diverse populations
  • Strong communication skills including English fluency and the ability to translate tax law into understandable concepts for clients and other volunteers. In 2018, we are opening a new bilingual site and have a special need for Spanish-speaking bilingual volunteers!

Requirements

  • Complete all IRS training and certification requirements (about 8 hours with additional training on your own time)
  • Tax Site Greeters: Pass the IRS certification exams through the Basic level
  • Tax Preparers: Pass an IRS certification exam through the Basic level, reutrning volunteers must certify at the Advanced level
  • Maintain communication with the Site Coordinator
  • Be on-site fifteen minutes prior to site opening and stay until the site is ready to close. Volunteer hours are slightly longer than the site hours we advertise to the taxpayers.


Timeline and Time Commitment
Training and certification will occur in January. Required training will take about 8 hours, with additional training on your own time. Volunteers are highly encouraged to work one tax shift per week (about 4-5 hrs) at the same tax site. If a volunteer can’t commit to the same shift each week, minimally they will be required to sign up for five shifts throughout the season. Volunteers will sign up for tax shifts on an online calendar.

Online certification must be complete before the first day of the federal tax season, usually around the third Monday in January.

Tax sites usually open the first week of February and operate through the second week of April.


CE Credits
Continuing Education Credits are available for eligible professionals serving in the Free Community Tax Service. For more information, see the IRS 2017 CE Fact Sheet.

FCTS Volunteer Coordinator Name and Contact Information
Amy Leyenbeck, Community Initiatives Director
United Way of Monroe County
441 South College Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47403
amy [at] monroeunitedway.org
812-334-8370 x 11

 

Want to help strengthen the earnings potential in our community?

Please consider donating to the United Way Earnings Priority Fund. This fund helps hard working individuals and families get ahead by increasing their job skills and income potential, providing financial education, and building economic stability and independence.

Want to learn more about additional Earnings initiatives or the other building blocks for a good life -  Education and Essentials?

Related: 
  • Born Learning
  • Financial Stability Alliance
  • Monroe Smart Start
  • Familywize Discount Prescription Card
  • Bank On Bloomington