By Miluska Novota, volunteer tax preparer

I’ve been volunteering with Prepare + Prosper for several years. I enjoy being one of 500+ volunteers providing free financial services, products, and coaching and  tax preparation for individuals and families currently earning low- and moderate-incomes. In 2017, 550 volunteers prepared taxes for nearly 13,000 taxpayers and returned $24.6 million in tax refunds, of which $1.5 million was saved. Many of our clients participated in financial coaching and enrolled in 104 FAIR checking, saving or credit builder accounts.

I look forward to tax season every year because it allows me to work with a fantastic group of volunteers and make tangible contributions. I appreciate Prepare + Prosper’s diligence in training volunteers and providing us the information, support, and systems we need to do our work efficiently and accurately. It is great to help people claim the full tax refund they’re due, no matter how big or small, especially when parents put part of that refund into a savings bond for their child. It is incredibly rewarding to see parents discuss their choices for investing their refund in their son or daughter’s education, particularly when their child is nearby and you can see him or her suddenly pay attention to what the adults are working on. As they leave our site with a savings bond in their name, the kids look like aspiring entrepreneurs with pride in having their own money set aside for their future.

Most of the people I work with speak English as a second or third language. As a native Spanish-speaker, I enjoy greeting clients in Spanish and jointly navigating through tax forms and documents in both languages. At almost every tax clinic, we have a volunteer who is a native foreign language speaker or who has studied abroad. Our diverse mix of backgrounds and experiences contributes to our goal of making our customers feel at ease. We strive to make sure everyone feels welcome at our tax clinics. Because of that, we have a need to recruit more volunteers that represent the communities we serve, specifically volunteers who are people of color or speak needed languages—specifically Somali, Spanish, and Hmong.

If that sounds right for you, I’d urge you to consider joining me in volunteering this tax season, January through April. Tax knowledge isn’t needed for all positions and expert training is provided. Learn more visit and to sign up contact or 651-262-2163.