United Way of the Mid-South is looking for hundreds of volunteers to participate in the organization’s Free Tax Prep program which brings millions to city’s economic engine, impacting people in poverty.

United Way is currently recruiting volunteers including tax preparers, greeters, screeners, and economic coaches who are available to provide financial advice and guidance to filers.

United Way is on an intense mission to fight the Mid-South’s biggest challenge: poverty. In 2016-2017, The Free Tax Prep program served over 8,400 low to moderate-income families and individuals. More than $12 million was returned to the Mid-South through federal refunds. This was accomplished by over 130 dedicated volunteers across the Mid-South through tax preparation and financial coaching.

“We want to turn the tide on how people handle and file their taxes, protecting them from predatory lenders and illegal tax shops,” said Yvonne Howard, United Way Senior Associate, and Free Tax Prep coordinator. “Our tax sites offer free filing as well as financial coaching and education to assist people with how to best use their tax refund based on their desired lifestyle.”

According to BankOnMemphis, 40 percent of Memphis households are unbanked or underbanked, mirroring the 44 percent of children living in poverty in Memphis. United Way of the Mid-South’s Free Tax Prep program falls under our new initiative Driving The Dream, a system-of-care network with shared data, strategies, and resources amongst a host of organizations, agencies, and services to help people living in poverty “drive” themselves towards a better quality of life and greater self-sufficiency. Driving The Dream uses multiple organizations to help assist an individual tackle the multiple stressors and challenges that arise and keep a person in poverty.

“Assisting people with household incomes under $54,000 to prepare and file their taxes, we are helping them receive a refund up to 20% of their annual income,” says Howard. “This is a huge boost for paying bills, getting out of debt, or opening a checking a saving account. We’re helping people dodge payday loan sharks and illegal tax shops.”

If you are interested in learning more about serving as a Free Tax Prep volunteer, please contact Janet Haas at 901-433-4364 or e-mail Janet.Haas@uwmidsouth.org or register online at http://bit.ly/2zJpQmi