Prepare + Prosper
A perfect fit for MNCPA members who want to give back
Back in 1971, it became clear to some MNCPA members that an individual’s access to high-quality tax assistance shouldn’t depend solely on one’s ability to pay for such services. These people came together to help form the Accounting Aid Society (now, Prepare + Prosper, known as AccountAbility Minnesota until 2014), an organization that began providing free tax preparation for low- and moderate-income Minnesotans.
Today, Prepare + Prosper accomplishes the important work it does with the help of more than 550 volunteers each tax season.
What will volunteers gain?
Volunteers remark on how satisfying doing this kind of work is, and that the impact is immediate. They also say the experience provides a great learning opportunity for them.
"MNCPA members have been our longest and most consistent supporters. Members have provided thought-leadership and have filled our volunteer roles perfectly. They have accounting expertise, which is a key requirement, and a desire to help others."
- Tracy Fischman, former Executive Director, Prepare + Prosper
There are a variety of roles that they fill:
- Tax return preparers: Our largest need.
- Reviewers: Some volunteers with more experience serve as reviewers (all returns are reviewed).
- Tax site specialists: These volunteers are the first point of contact and screen all potential customers to make sure they are eligible for our services and have the necessary documentation for tax preparation.
- Financial advocates: These volunteers promote savings, pull and walk through credit reports, and screen customers for a number of state public benefits that they may be eligible for (e.g., food support, health care, etc.).
- Volunteer financial planners: These volunteers are certified financial planners and work with customers on things like reducing debt, budgeting, understanding credit, and more. Credit is a particularly confusing yet important tool, as credit scores are often used to facilitate access to mainstream financial products, competitive interest rates, housing and even employment.
- Self-employment tax preparers: This program is expanding, so volunteer opportunities are growing in this area.
- Off-season volunteers: During the summer and fall, these volunteers help with prior year tax returns, renters’ credit rebates, property tax refunds, etc.
Every volunteer goes through Prepare + Prosper's training program, and all tax preparers and reviewers must pass an IRS certification exam.
Volunteer with Prepare + Prosper
For more information about volunteering, contact Sara McCracken, volunteer resources manager at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-262-2174.