April is National Volunteer month in the United States. During this month, GE Aviation will highlight the great work of our GE Volunteers around the world. Despite COVID restrictions, GE Aviation volunteers participated in more than 300 projects in 2021, giving more than 40,000 hours of their time and talent in the areas of education, the environment and community building.
For some people, tax season in the United States looms like the onset of a bad cold: A couple days of accounting-induced headaches and it’s all over.
But for those struggling to pay their monthly bills, preparing taxes can seem like a confusing and overwhelming process—one that could have a long-lasting negative effect on their financial health if it doesn’t get done on time.
This year, thanks to a group of GE Aviation volunteers, 150 families in the Cincinnati area got help filing their taxes and were able to claim returns that generated $270,000 in refunds for the community. The time and accounting expertise that the GE volunteers donated through the Free Tax Prep program established by United Way of Greater Cincinnati (UWGC) helped to save $45,000 in tax preparation fees.
“Not paying for tax preparation services makes a huge difference for low- and moderate-income families,” says Johanna Navarro, UWGC’s director of engagement and strategy. “It can mean the difference between paying down a credit card, having money in an emergency savings account, or getting a car repaired.”
Working on consecutive Saturdays throughout February in the Reading branch of the Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library, 34 GE Aviation volunteers led by Tony Cooperrider, a finance leader, doled out advice and prepared tax forms for anyone who came looking for help. Volunteers from Ernst & Young worked alongside the GE volunteers to provide quality control on reviews and field questions from preparers and taxpayers alike. Members of GE Aviation’s finance team, who donated a total of 400 hours this year, have been helping the Free Tax Prep program for the better part of a decade. Cooperrider called it a “great team effort for a very worthy cause.”
“Tony’s team should be lauded for their efforts this year,” says Matthew Long, who oversees the Free Tax Prep program for UWGC. “They increased the number of taxpayers served last year from 125 to 150. Even better, the total refund amount increased from approximately $200,000 last year to $270,000. That is equivalent to $200 more per taxpayer this year, or a $1,800 average refund per taxpayer. It is precisely this type of work that helps us move individuals and families toward the economic well-being they deserve.”