Chris Young has volunteered with the United Way Free Tax Prep program since 2008. After a 31-year career, culminating as an executive vice president for a refreshment beverage company, he now enjoys using his skills and expertise to give back to the community.
“It’s giving back to people who can’t afford to pay for tax prep and getting them back the money they qualify for,” said Young. “And it makes sure that they don’t get in trouble with the IRS. Some people go to fly-by-night tax preparers who can make mistakes and then are nowhere to be found.”
Created in a partnership between United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, the IRS and Foundation Communities, the Free Tax Prep program has doubled in size over the last five years. Last year alone, more than 500 volunteers like Young donated over 13,000 hours as IRS-certified tax preparers and provided services to 12,000+ households, resulting in nearly $19 million in refunds and tax savings.
For Leslie Armstead, Lancaster mother of three, the experience was much better than the one she had years ago at one of the brand name tax preparation places.
“This time, the person preparing my taxes was actually telling me things — what I should do, what I should bring in next year, asking me about deductions I didn’t even know about.”
Armstead’s refund was substantially more than she expected. With it, she built an emergency fund and invested in savings bonds for her children. And for Young, it doesn’t get any better than that.
“It’s rewarding to be able to do my part to make Dallas a better place,” he says. “It keeps me busy. Through volunteering, we can all do something to make life better for everybody in our community.”