The Benefits of Tax Help Services From United Way of Summit & Medina

Mar 15, 2024

At United Way of Summit & Medina, we are more than a pass-through organization. Our dedicated team members work in our community, providing direct services that meet the needs of local residents. One way that we support our community is by providing free tax preparation services. Helping our residents file their taxes properly every year brings them one step closer to financial empowerment. Join us in learning more about the pros of utilizing professional tax preparers!

What is Income Tax Assistance and Who Can Benefit?

Should you file your own taxes? What are the pros of professional tax preparers? Many of us don’t know where to start when it comes to tackling taxes. While hiring someone to prepare your taxes for you has many benefits, this unfortunately is not an accessible option for many families. From saving time and money to making sure your taxes are filed correctly, everyone can benefit from the help of a professional during tax season.

That’s why United Way of Summit & Medina’s Bold Goal towards financial empowerment provides free tax preparation at no cost for Summit and Medina County households with an income of less than $64,000. Our Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program connects you with a volunteer who will prepare your federal and state tax returns for free. There are no strings attached – our tax preparers are there to make a stressful time of year a bit calmer! We are thankful for our dedicated volunteers who make these services available to the families in our community, allowing them to benefit from professional tax preppers.

Why You Should Use A Professional Tax Preparer

Wondering about professional tax preparer pros and cons? The good news is that, in most cases, the only downside of working with a professional during tax season would be that you have to pay them. However, thanks to the trustworthy United Way of Summit & Medina volunteers, you don’t need to worry about that. Check out the following reasons why you should consider working with our volunteer tax preparers!

It Can Save You Money

There might be deductions or tax credits available to you that you didn’t know existed. Only a professional tax preparer could spot those opportunities and make sure you save that money. For example, a professional knows how to claim tax credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC) – credits that reward hard work and support families.

If you file your own taxes, you may miss these chances to save money and take steps toward financial empowerment. Let the United Way tax preparers help you instead – for free!

It Saves You Time

The IRS has reported that it takes about 20 hours to complete a tax return with deductions. That is like taking on an extra part-time job for a week – and that is just for one person’s tax return. If you are also responsible for preparing taxes for your dependents, add another 20 hours of work. That is time you could spend at your job, with your family, or in your community. One of the pros of professional tax preparers is that they can make tax season much easier, reserving your valuable time for other important matters.

The Tax Code Is Complicated

There is a reason that professional tax preparers exist! The constantly changing tax code is complicated enough that these professionals dedicate their careers to understanding it inside and out. It would be unreasonable to expect every citizen to be an expert in the tax code, which is why tax season brings heightened stress to so many households. Professional tax preparation services will save you the headache and potential mistakes caused by a complicated tax code.

Reduced Risk of an Audit

Should you file your own taxes, you might find yourself in the middle of an audit. It’s a reality that no one wants to think about – but with the complexity of the tax code and the amount of time it takes to file taxes… mistakes happen. Unfortunately, these can be costly mistakes that will take time to resolve. Avoid everyone’s worst-case scenario by working with a professional this tax season.

Tax Preparation Options from United Way

We are proud to offer multiple avenues to access free tax preparation. Check out the following ways our volunteers can help you file taxes.


Hoping to receive all of your tax help in person? Our in-person appointments are offered:

Clients will arrive at their scheduled time and location with their required documents, complete intake forms and be assigned to a professional tax preparer. The process will take approximately 60-90 minutes, depending on the complexity of the return.

Drop Off

If you lack the time or interest for an in-person appointment, our drop-off service might be right for you. Clients come into the Financial Empowerment Center at 1060 Kenmore Blvd with their required documents and identification and complete their intake forms and interview – this will take approximately 15-30 minutes. Clients will be contacted within 5 days to review, sign and have their return electronically submitted.

Facilitated Self-Assistance

The final option for tax help offered by United Way of Summit & Medina is facilitated self-assisted. If your household makes less than $79,000 and you would like to file your own tax return, we can provide you with free access to TaxSlayer, an online tax software, to file your federal and state returns yourself at no cost. Due to IRS restrictions, we cannot post this link publicly, but if you email us at [email protected], we will send you the access information.

How To Get Financial Help From United Way

Ready to utilize United Way of Summit & Medina’s economic empowerment program? Reap the benefits of hiring someone to prepare your taxes without spending a dime. Schedule an appointment in Akron or Medina today – or call 2-1-1 to get started!

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