Orange County United Way’s OC Free Tax Prep program will return for the 2024 tax season and is seeking 500 volunteer tax preparers to help Orange County residents keep more of their hard-earned money. No prior experience is required to become an IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) volunteer.
The OC Free Tax Prep program, established in 2005, is part of Orange County United Way’s United for Financial SecuritySM initiative to increase the number of financially stable families in Orange County and break the cycle of poverty.
“Our VITA Volunteers make the OC Free Tax Prep the successful and impactful program that it is -- helping low-income families in Orange County achieve financial security and positively impact the financial health and resiliency of Orange County residents. Volunteers have a unique opportunity to interact directly with taxpayers, build their skills, and gain insightful perspective on the low and middle income financial challenges that many Orange County families face,” said Susan B. Parks, President and CEO, Orange County United Way.
All volunteers are required to complete and pass the online Volunteer Standards of Conduct training and certification requirements based on their role. Volunteer roles include:
Tax Preparers: Required to complete tax preparation trainings and must pass certification exams prior to serving.* Newly certified volunteers will be paired with a mentor and receive guidance from the site coordinator.
o *Exams are online, self-paced, open-book, and multiple-choice.
Bilingual Volunteers: Spanish, Vietnamese, Korean, Farsi, Arabic and Mandarin bilinguals are needed.
Greeters: This role consists of welcoming clients and making sure they have all the necessary documents and paperwork.
Online and in-person training sessions led by an IRS-certified VITA instructor will be available in November and December 2023 and early January 2024. All volunteers, new or returning, are required to complete training sessions. Volunteer hours are available during day, evening, and weekend shifts at locations all over Orange County. A full list of locations and volunteer hours will be announced later this year.
During the 2023 tax season, OC Free Tax Prep helped more than 16,000 residents throughout Orange County bring in nearly $15.1 million in federal and state refunds. Taxpayers saved a minimum of $4.2 million in preparation fees, which equates to an impact of $19.3 million in Orange County. More than 16,100 volunteer hours were contributed.
Orange County United Way is committed to breaking barriers and improving lives for everyone who lives here. Through our key initiatives—United for Student Success℠, United for Financial Security℠, and United to End Homelessness℠—we are working to ensure local students succeed, struggling OC families gain financial security, and our homeless neighbors find a place to call home. We also offer vital support via 2-1-1 Orange County (211OC), a key service that connects thousands of our most vulnerable residents with health and human service resources. We are committed to caring for one another. That’s #TheOCWay.
To learn more or discover how you can help, visit UnitedWayOC.org.
Orange County United Way is a standalone, independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.