United Way’s Free Tax Prep Opens and Goes Virtual

United Way’s Free Tax Prep initiative is now booking appointments for the tax season offering free tax help to residents living in Oneida and Herkimer Counties whose households make approximately up to $66,000 annually.

To keep clients, volunteers, and staff safe and healthy, the program is offering virtual appointments to replace its usual in-person appointment option. IRS-certified volunteers are ready to provide free basic and advanced income tax return preparation with electronic filing available.

Clients can sign-up for virtual appointments with United Way’s Free Tax Prep volunteers through an easy-to-use, HIPPA approved secure teleconnection platform, Klara. This platform allows for one-on-one assistance with the client and the tax preparer, the ability to easily upload tax documents, signing and filing documents, all digitally!

“United Way of the Mohawk Valley is consistently identifying innovative solutions to our community’s problems,” said Betty-Joan Beaudry, United Way MV’s Director of Community Impact and 211. “Our team used technology to transform a service that usually requires in-person into a safe, no contact option. This allows United Way to still offer one-on-one, personal assistance between client and tax preparer while keeping our staff, volunteer, and clients safe.”

While there will be no in-person appointments available this year, clients without access to the internet, a smartphone, tablet, or computer still have a couple of alternative options to have their taxes filed with United Way’s Free Tax Prep. Clients without internet can access free wi-fi from Utica Public Library and Rome’s Jervis Public Library parking lots.

For clients, without a smartphone, computer, or tablet there are a limited amount of "drop-off" appointments available at the MVCAA location only. Filers using this option will drop-off the needed documents and pick-up the documents once their tax return is complete, which typically takes about a week. This option unfortunately does not allow for personal assistance during this process, so virtual appointments are recommended if possible.

Making an appointment with United Way’s Free Tax Prep is easy! Qualifying individuals can quickly schedule online by visiting unitedwaymv.org/freetaxprep. Those without access to the internet can schedule by phone with United Way’s 211 by dialing 2-1-1 or 1-844-3425-211.

United Way of the Mohawk Valley, in partnership with The Mohawk Valley Asset Building Coalition, is dedicated to helping individuals and families in Oneida and Herkimer Counties become financially self-sufficient by offering free tax preparation services. Having a personal safety net is important and by helping families save money. United Way’s Free Tax Prep initiative is one way they are offering solutions that move people towards financial independence and a better quality of life.

For more information or to schedule an appointment visit unitedwaymv.org/freetaxprep or call 211 by dialing 2-1-1 or 1-844-3425-211.