"They Really Are Looking Out for You"

Taxpayers laud United Way's Free Tax Prep for its great service and friendly, knowledgeable volunteers.
March 14, 2024
Free Tax Prep collage
Volunteers work with taxpayers at United Way Free Tax Prep sites.

CINCINNATI (March 14, 2024) – Just the thought of filing a tax return can cause a stomach to churn.

Ah, but there's a sure-fire way to alleviate tax-time stress: take advantage of United Way of Greater Cincinnati's Free Tax Prep service.

Each year, thousands of people visit more than two dozen Free Tax Prep sites in Southwest Ohio, Northern Kentucky and Southeast Indiana. Besides saving on tax preparation fees, taxpayers can feel confident that IRS-certified volunteers ensure they get their refund and credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit.

Those refunds and savings add up to millions of dollars returning to the community. That's money people can use for rent, mortgages, home repairs, car payments, tuition and the like. Indeed, Free Tax Prep exemplifies United Way's commitment to helping people achieve financial stability.

With the April 15 tax deadline approaching, we spoke to people who received help this year at Free Tax Prep sites in Finneytown, Newport and Madisonville. Here's what they said:

Kevin Moran is a career coach for Brighton Center's Center for Employment Training. "I feel the preparers are highly trained and they know just as much — probably more — than if you would take your taxes to a place where you have to pay. It's a great free service."

Sharon Davies is a retiree who still works part-time. "I used to go to (a commercial tax preparer). Not only were they expensive, but they weren't always very accurate. Here, they're nice and friendly and they check their work. You know your return is right when you leave. I feel like they really are looking out for you."

Lea Edmonds, lead teacher at Northern Kentucky Scholar House, has been using Free Tax Prep about six years. This year she was accompanied by her 19-year-old daughter, who also got her taxes done. "It's free, it's reliable, and the (preparers) are knowledgeable. I've never had a bad experience here."

Chrystal Mara said volunteers helped her file a prior-year tax return for when she was homeless and did not receive forms. She'll receive a modest $100 refund. "I could surely use it right now," she said. "Overall, it went very well. They're respectful, they walked through every bit of it with me, and it went super quick."

Marianne Kwiatkowski and her husband, Sai Fung Yee, have used Free Tax Prep for several years. Said Marianne: "It's less stress. The people are friendly. They're very thorough. And you get two sets of eyes on it (to double-check for accuracy)."

Diamond Williams is a day care teacher and mother of a 6-month-old girl. Free Tax Prep volunteers "were very nice and they paid a lot of attention to details. I don't know much about the (tax) forms. It's hard when you're doing it online. I'm glad to have somebody who understands, and you can ask them questions."

Daniah is a pharmacy technician. "I come (to the Northminster site) every year. It's easy and welcoming. I'm not very good with numbers, so I'm getting help for free . . . The tax laws change all the time, so it helps to have someone who gets annual training and knows what they are doing."

Eddie Butts, a retiree from Norwood, is a longtime fan of Free Tax Prep. "I love it. The 20 years I've been coming here, I've never had a problem."

Darchelle Derthick is a bartender and has used Free Tax Prep for about four years. "This is easy breezy. On a scale of 1 to 10, it's a 10. The (tax preparers) know what they're doing. And it's very nice that they volunteer. They keep me coming back."

Rosa Drummond, a retired nurse, said her reasons for using Free Tax Prep are simple: "I get money back, and it's free."

Deborah Beamon has used FTP for about six years. "First of all, it's free. Second, you get it all done in one day. And the people here are very nice, knowledgeable. It's a good public service."

Katherine Clay, who at age 80 still works as a home health aide, said a niece recommended she give Free Tax Prep a try seven years ago. "I love it. It's convenient. I'm very pleased with all (the preparers). Everybody seems on point; they know what they're doing."


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Why pay to file your taxes when United Way's Free Tax Prep can do them for free?

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