Tax prep volunteers needed in Williamson County

As tax season approaches, United Way of Williamson County is seeking volunteers to help low- to moderate-income and elderly residents receive free tax preparation services.

"United Way of Williamson County is working to increase access to free tax preparation services for households earning $53,000 or less," UWWC Development Director Laurie Garza said in a statement.

Tax filing preparation assistance is offered at nine sites in Cedar Park, Leander, Georgetown, Hutto, Round Rock and Taylor. About 30 volunteers are still needed in Leander, Georgetown, Hutto and Taylor. Volunteers perform work as tax preparers, site supporters or translators from mid-January to April 15 and are given free training and support.

The program is put on by the Williamson County Financial Stability Coalition, which is composed of The United Way of Williamson County, AARP Tax-Aide, Williamson-Burnet County Opportunities, The Literacy Council of Williamson County, Foundation Communities and the Internal Revenue Service.

The coalition aims to improve the lives of Williamson County residents through tax preparation services that could increase the amount of earned income tax credits, child tax credits and education credits the taxpayer receives.

"Since 2010 we have been privileged to help 2,642 clients [with] their tax returns. We estimate that we have saved clients more than $600,000 in commercial fees," Garza said. "Last year 56 percent of our clients told us they intend to use a refund to pay bills, rent or a mortgage, and basic needs [such as] food and clothing. An additional 25 percent said they intend to use refunds for saving, tuition, childcare or transportation."

More information is available at www.wilcofreetaxprep.org.