United Way of Southwestern PA, in partnership with the Money in Your Pocket Coalition (MIYPC), is recruiting volunteer tax preparers to support the 2017 Free Tax Preparation Campaign. Northside Common Ministries Financial Opportunity Center, 1601 Brighton Rd., is the Northside location for families and individuals who qualify for free tax preparation.

At least eight volunteers are still needed to sign up at the NSCM location, and need to commit just three hours each week to prepare tax returns for hard working, low-wage earning families and individuals from January through mid-April.

To sign up, visit swpafreetaxes.org, click the volunteer button to get started, and then locate the site location and shift preferred shift hours and click “Sign Up.”

“Volunteers include members of our community, retirees, businessmen and women, military veterans, and students and professors from colleges and universities—anyone who is comfortable using a computer and working with people,” said Angela Reynolds, United Way’s Director of PA 2-1-1 Southwest and United for Families. “This campaign offers volunteers the opportunity to network and learn new skills while helping local residents in a meaningful way.”

No prior tax preparation experience is necessary for someone to volunteer. United Way and the MIYPC partner with the IRS to provide free, thorough tax training and resources for all volunteers, including both in-person and online training modules. Training is based on each volunteer’s tax experience and prepares volunteers to pass an IRS certification test prior to starting at a tax site. In general, new volunteers complete two days of tax law and software training. New volunteers with accounting experience may qualify for condensed training.

“Volunteers help us make a difference in the lives of thousands of hard-working individuals and families in our region by helping them secure well-deserved tax credits and refunds,” said Reynolds. “This money might be the help local working families need to keep the heat on through the winter or put dinner on the table for their children.”

Appointments for free tax preparation can be made beginning January 11, 2017 by dialing 2-1-1 or visiting www.pa211sw.org, the free, 24-hour health and human services helpline powered by United Way. 2-1-1 resource navigators will schedule free tax preparation appointments and make service referrals for the five counties in the MIYPC (Allegheny, Fayette, Greene, Washington and Westmoreland), and will serve as a resource for free tax preparation assistance for 11 counties throughout Southwestern PA. Households with a total annual income up to $54,000 may qualify for free in-person tax preparation; free online tax assistance is available for individuals and families with a total annual income up to $64,000.