Giving back in a meaningful way

Throughout his professional career, Rick contributed money to non-profits and sat on various boards and committees. When Rick retired five years ago, he wanted to continue to give back to the community, but in a more personal, meaningful way.

“When I was working and raising a family, it was hard to give my time, so we gave money – to United Way and many other agencies. When I retired, I had the luxury of giving more of my time,” Rick said. A friend told him about the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, supported by United Way of Southwestern PA. “Since I was a bit of a tax nerd, this was right up my alley.”

The federal government provides income assistance to eligible working people through the Earned Income Tax Credit. To obtain the EITC, a tax return must be filed, and for many low-income singles and families, that can be a significant – and expensive – task.

Volunteers like Rick help low-income families prepare and file their tax returns, take credits they might not know existed, and receive the refunds to which they are entitled. “Everybody’s tax situation is different, but together we reason our way through it and are able to come up with solutions,” Rick said. Many use their tax refunds on basic needs, like rent, transportation, utilities and emergencies.

This will be Rick’s fourth year as a Free Tax Prep volunteer. He encourages community members with a passion for helping others and problem solving to join him as a volunteer this tax season.