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United Way seeking tax prep volunteers in and around Allegheny County

A close-up of a tax form.
Keith Srakocic
Internal Revenue Service taxes forms are seen on Feb. 13, 2019.

If you’re looking to help others this holiday season, the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania wants you.

The organization is seeking hundreds of volunteers for its annual free tax preparation efforts.

Starting in January and running through mid-April, volunteers help individuals and families file their taxes for free, assisting those who qualify in getting the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credits, which can lead to substantial refunds for some low-income working families.

The free service also aims to help people avoid for-profit tax preparers who charge high fees or who offer high-interest loans.

“No hidden costs, no hidden fees. They get to keep all of the money that they've worked for and earned over the year,” said Alena Anderson, director of Moving Toward Financial Stability at United Way.

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No previous accounting or tax preparation experience is needed; volunteers will complete an IRS-required training.

“You need no experience, you just need time,” Anderson said. Training usually takes place in January. Volunteering is about a three-hour commitment during tax season, once a week at one of the designated tax preparation sites.

Last year, 280 volunteers prepared nearly 8,000 returns, saving families more than $2 million in tax prep fees and generated $10.6 million in refunds.

United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania’s free tax prep program serves Allegheny, Fayette, Greene, Washington, and Westmoreland counties.

More information is available at

Kate Giammarise focuses her reporting on poverty, social services and affordable housing. Before joining WESA, she covered those topics for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for nearly five years; prior to that, she spent several years in the paper’s Harrisburg bureau covering the legislature, governor and state government. She can be reached at or 412-697-2953.