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Volunteers needed now for 2012 tax season; training in Dec.

The Real$ense Prosperity Campaign, an initiative of United Way, needs volunteers now to help prepare tax returns for low and moderate income Northeast Florida residents January through April 2012. Real$ense operates free tax sites in Duval, Nassau, Clay, St. Johns, Putnam and Baker counties.

No experience is necessary. Volunteers receive free training from local tax prep experts and will learn valuable skills while working with a great group of people to make a difference in their community. Training is provided in the classroom, online or a combination of both during December 2011 and January 2012. Tax preparation will take place January through April 2012.

Volunteers will prepare and e-file federal returns based on information provided by the taxpayer and by asking tax-related questions. They also help working families understand their eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Child Tax Credit and other tax benefits as well as help connect them to other community resources where necessary.

Volunteer requirements include basic to intermediate computer skills, a desire to help low and moderate income families, the ability to work with people from varied backgrounds, and a willingness to commit to at least two to four hours per week at a designated location from mid-January through mid-April. Tax preparation sites are open weekdays, evenings and Saturdays.

Volunteers are also needed to assist at the sites by greeting taxpayers, verifying information and helping them complete necessary forms. In addition, bilingual volunteers are needed to serve as interpreters. Minimal formal training is required for these roles. Hours needed are the same as for tax preparers.

Last year, the Real$ense team of around 450 volunteers prepared and e-filed more than 15,300 tax returns, bringing $21 million in refunds to the Northeast Florida economy—nearly $6 million of which were EITC dollars. During the program’s eight year existence, over 80,000 tax returns have been completed, bringing $97.9 million in refunds to our area, including $30 million in EITC dollars.

For more information or to volunteer, visit www.realsensejax.org or contact Anna Gibson at 904-390-3237 or anna@uwnefl.org.


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