Nothing is Certain – Except Taxes and the Need for Volunteers

Guest post by Grace Louis, NYC Department of Consumer Affairs

Tax Day … ugh, let’s collectively sigh. There’s a reason that there’s a saying about death and taxes. Like clockwork, that W-2 arrives and most of us fret and procrastinate until we finally file our taxes.

But for so many hardworking Americans, tax season can deliver one of the biggest checks of the year. Wouldn’t it be great to be the person who tells someone that they’re getting a check for several thousand dollars? A check that will make a real difference in their lives? And that they’re getting it for free when most New Yorkers spend between $150 and $200 each year to prepare and file their taxes?

You can be that tax girl (or guy).

With just a few hours a week as volunteer preparer with NYC Free Tax Prep, you will help about five families complete their tax returns and claim valuable tax credits. By the end of the season, you’ll complete about 50 tax returns, helping your neighbors claim more than $80,000 in refunds and tax preparation fee savings.

What is NYC Free Tax Prep? NYC Free Tax Prep, an initiative of the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs, helps any New Yorker who earned $66,000 or less file their taxes for free. There are more than 150 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)/Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) and AARP Tax-Aide sites citywide, as well as online self-preparation. For more information, visit nyc.gov/taxprep or call 311.

You’re probably thinking – filing taxes? That sounds hard. But you don’t need tax experience! You will receive training on basic tax law and how to complete basic tax returns using electronic filing software. Yes, despite all that tax reform in the news, you’ll understand how to file taxes correctly. And Enrolled Agents can earn IRS Continuing Education (CE) credits and Attorneys and Certified Public Accountants may also qualify for CE credits, too.

Join more than 150 volunteer tax preparers like Danny today. Visit and get started in just three steps:

  1. Get TRAINED
  2. Get CERTIFIED
  3. Start MAKING A DIFFERENCE

Volunteers are needed across the city but in particular in the Bronx and Brooklyn. Questions about volunteering? Please contact FreeTaxPrep@dca.nyc.gov And if you don’t live in New York City, there are VITA programs across the country that are always looking for volunteers.

About author: Grace Louis coordinates NYC’s Annual Tax Season Initiative and works with the NYC Tax Coalition to encourage New Yorkers with low-to-moderate incomes to file their taxes for free and keep their whole refund.

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