125 North Fulton St. Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: (607) 273-4611
Toll Free: (877) 273-AFCU      Contact

Volunteer for Free Tax Preparation Program

Volunteer for the Free Tax Preparation Program at Alternatives Credit Union

Would you like to help put more money in the hands of working people? Each year, Americans spend millions of dollars on tax preparation and even more is lost in unclaimed credits. Help us offer an alternative. Volunteer with our Free Tax Preparation Program and learn how to prepare taxes for working families and individuals. 

Become a Tax Preparation Volunteer

In 2003, Alternatives spearheaded a free tax preparation program to encourage community members to claim their tax refunds and to provide an alternative solution to predatory tax preparers. To date, we have prepared over 19,700 tax returns for working families and individuals. While receiving free tax preparation, many of them learned about how they can claim and invest earned income tax credits, education credits and child and dependent care credits.

This year, we are hoping to reach even more taxpayers and help them to claim the $1.4 million that the IRS estimates goes unclaimed in the Ithaca area each year. We need volunteers to greet participants, prepare taxes and provide financial education.

This volunteer opportunity is a great match for anyone interested in a variety of topics, including:

  • Accounting
  • Business
  • Economics
  • Social Justice
  • Community Development
  • Public Policy
  • Counseling

Just think - an hour of your time can mean $5,000 in additional income for a working family!

It is more than just taxes
Volunteer positions include:

Front Desk Managers. Like to meet new people? Volunteer to greet clients, answer phones and schedule appointments.

C.A.S.H. Advisors. If you are a good listener and enjoy one-on-one coaching, you will assist clients in reviewing their financial needs and suggest other services that support self-sufficiency.

Tax Preparers. Enjoy working with numbers and computers? Help filers complete their tax forms.

No experience is necessary. Volunteers will learn to work with selected elements of the tax code and/or learn financial education strategies to help low-income families and individuals make the most of the credits they receive. Experienced tax preparers offer lots of support to new preparers and educators.  

Qualifications and requirements

  • Successful completion of appropriate training
  • Volunteer for at least 20 hours per tax season
  • Sign and conform to a confidentiality pledge
  • Be mature, responsible, patient and punctual
  • Have strong oral communication skills
  • For preparers: Display computer proficiency


If you are interested in volunteering with Alternatives Federal Credit Union this tax season, you can
sign up online, or you may contact: Brian Zapf at (607) 216-3459 for more information.


Bilingual volunteers are especially welcome!


In accordance with federal law and Internal Revenue Service policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. To file a complaint of discrimination, write to Operations Director-Civil Rights Division, Internal Revenue Service-Room 2413, 1111 Constitution Avenue-NW, Washington DC 20224 or email them at edi.civil.rights.division@irs.gov.  

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Diane Cohen

The Finger Lakes ReUse Center was awarded The Jeff Furman Award for Social Responsibility in Business at Alternatives’ 2012 annual meeting, with Executive Director Diane Cohen accepting the award. Cohen expressed her thanks: “We will hang the award prominently and proudly in our Reuse Center, and as we grow, we will continue to use this as a beacon, to continue our efforts to maximize our capacity to provide opportunities and relieve hardship. We know we are in solidarity with Alternatives on these issues. We're a young organization with a mission to enhance community, economy, and environment through reuse, and a priority to serve our community well. Receiving this award has been an honor and an affirmation.”


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