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Volunteers needed for free tax prep in Allegheny, Westmoreland, neighboring counties

Jeff Himler
440747WEBtaxes2

The United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania will offer free tax preparation assistance in Westmoreland, Allegheny and neighboring counties and seeks volunteers to staff the program.

The organization needs more than 515 volunteers who each can commit three hours per week, from January through mid-April, to prepare returns for eligible taxpayers who earn low wages.

Volunteers do not need to have prior experience. The United Way partners with the IRS to provide in-person and online training and resources.

The program can provide continuing education credits for professionals and internships for students who volunteer.

“Many individuals who come to us for help with their taxes are unaware of some of the refunds for which they are eligible,” said Kiandra Foster, director of programs, United Families, United Way. “This money might be the help a family needs to keep the heat on through the winter or put dinner on the table for their children.

“If we see a family who might benefit from other services, we can help them find those resources to ensure they’re back on their feet.”

Last year, 480 volunteers dedicated more than 22,000 hours to prepare nearly 10,500 tax returns at United Way-sponsored sites in the region. They helped many working families obtain the federal Earned Income Tax Credit, one of the nation’s largest anti-poverty programs.

Volunteers are needed at sites across Westmoreland, Allegheny, Fayette, Greene and Washington counties.

They can sign up at swpafree
taxes.org
and must do so before Jan. 1.

Appointments for free tax preparation can be made beginning
Jan. 10 by dialing 2-1-1 or by visiting pa211sw.org .

Households with a total annual income of up to $56,000 may qualify for free, in-person tax preparation.

Free online assistance is available for families with a total income of up to $66,000.

Tax prep sites listed

Tax preparation sites in Westmoreland County include Westmoreland Community Action, 226 S. Maple Ave., Greensburg; Westmoreland County Community College – Latrobe and New Kensington campuses; Monessen Public Library, 326 Donner Ave., Monessen.

Among 19 sites in Allegheny County: Allegheny Valley Association of Churches/Central Presbyterian Church, 305 Allegheny St., Tarentum; Just Harvest at the Community College of Allegheny County Boyce Campus, 595 Beatty Road, Room N542, Monroeville; YWCA Downtown, 305 Wood St., Pittsburgh.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter @jhimler_news.

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