NeighborWorks Umpqua is looking for volunteers to help prepare taxes for local residents needing a little help this upcoming tax season.

NeighborWorks Umpqua is partnering with the IRS to open free volunteer income tax assistance sites in Roseburg and North Bend. Due to the 2020 Economic Impact Payments, many more families may need help filing their taxes this year than last year.

NeighborWorks Umpqua will provide 40 hours of online self-paced training, and no prior tax experience is needed to become a volunteer.

After passing the IRS exams to be a volunteer preparer, volunteers will work as a team to prepare and file taxes for community members. In addition to training, the minimum time commitment to volunteer as a tax preparer is 40 hours from mid-February to April 15, NeighborWorks Umpqua officials said.

NeighborWorks Umpqua will follow COVID-19 guidelines outlined by Oregon. The services will be contact-free; documents can be shared through a drop-off process by appointment only, and additional follow-up consultations will be done by phone.

“Our generous donors and skilled volunteers enable many people to file their taxes who normally do not have the means to do so; for example, people who are minorities, students, and the homeless,” Michelle Martin, director of community and economic empowerment for NeighborWorks Umpqua, said in a news release.

A main reason for providing these services is to help more individuals receive the Earned Income Tax Credit. The tax credit is designed to give a tax credit to low to moderate income workers with children.

According to the Oregon Center for Public Policy, participation in the Earned Income Tax Credit program has been in the 70-percentile range, which translates to over $100M in loss of economic activity in the state. NeighborWorks Umpqua hopes to increase the number of participants in the tax credit program by helping more people file their taxes.

Those interested in volunteering can find more information on the website: https://www.nwumpqua.org/taxes/ or call 877-527-5630.

NeighborWorks Umpqua is a rural-focused housing and community development corporation committed to promoting opportunity for all. The agency provides housing, community development, property management, financial services, education, and advocacy to help individuals and families attain economic, social and environmental sustainability and equity.

Scott Carroll can be reached at scarroll@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4204. Or follow him on Twitter @scottcarroll15.

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