Tax prep volunteers with United Way of King County. COURTESY PHOTO

Tax prep volunteers with United Way of King County. COURTESY PHOTO

United Way’s 33 free tax preparation sites to help struggling individuals, families

Auburn is among the locations open throughout King County

United Way of King County’s 33 Free Tax Preparation sites are ready to serve low- and middle-income working families with the assistance of IRS-certified volunteers who will help filers claim all the tax credits and refunds they’re entitled to, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (“EITC”).

Auburn sites include Orion Industries and Green River College.

According to the IRS, 20 percent of taxpayers in 2019 failed to claim the EITC, which is widely seen as a powerful tool to help people get out of poverty, because they might not understand eligibility requirements.

In 2019, United Way’s Free Tax Prep Program volunteers helped secure $30 million in federal tax refunds for nearly 22,000 filers in the area.

Lauren McGowan, senior director for Ending Homelessness and Poverty at United Way of King County, said low- and middle-income families can file their taxes at one of the sites and secure a significant refund, which the families might not get without help from a trained preparer.

“Nearly 41% of people who claim the EITC in King County are losing some of that income because they go to a paid preparer. Instead of paying high fees to get their refund, United Way volunteers provide high-quality, free tax preparation services,” said McGowan. “This allows taxpayers to keep more of their hard-earned money and increase their families’ financial stability.”

In addition to tax-preparation assistance, volunteers also help filers with information about public benefits, financial counseling and other services. In 2020, they can also help filers fill out Census forms and ensure that everyone in the community is represented.

To find a site location, languages available, a list of what to bring and other details, people can visit United Way’s Free Tax website at FreeTaxExperts.org. United Way tax sites will remain open until April 18.

The Free Tax Prep Program is sponsored by the city of Seattle, KeyBank, Seattle Credit Union, Foster School of Business, Fiserv and the Financial Empowerment Network.

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