Note: All services are provided by appointment only
Free Tax Preparation Services
Click HERE for 2020 Tax Preparation Services
From February through mid-April each year, we host free tax preparation services for our low and moderate income community neighbors at various sites throughout the county. These services are performed by AARP, IRS certified volunteer tax preparers. Guidelines limit the ability to undertake complex or business returns. The objective is to minimize tax costs with a primary focus on the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit.
Financial Empowerment Counseling
You’ve probably heard the terms “financial education” or “financial literacy” before. These concepts describe the process of helping people learn about financial topics. Financial empowerment goes beyond acquiring knowledge. Financial empowerment includes financial education and financial literacy, but it focuses both on building your ability to manage money and use financial services and on helping to access products that work for you.
When you are financially empowered, you are both informed and skilled. You know where to get help with your financial challenges and can access and choose financial products and services that meet your needs. This sense of empowerment can build confidence that you can effectively use your financial knowledge, skills, and resources to reach your goals.
Depending on the situation, we may be able to help you take the first steps to:
- Saving money
- Set goals and determine how much to save to reach those goals
- Plan for large purchases
- Establish an emergency savings fund
- Plan for life events
- Get and use tax refunds.
- Track the specific ways you are using your money.
- Make a simple plan to pay down debt.
- Get, review, and fix errors on their credit reports.
- Evaluate financial products and services.
- Recognize when consumer rights may have been violated and know how to take action.
- Understanding now your credit score/report can work for or against you.
Setting Financial Goals
The financial education workshops and one-on-one counseling address the following subjects:
- Distinguishing between wants and needs
- Creating a spending plan or budget, living within your means
- Building or rebuilding credit
- Managing debt
- Creating savings and shopping for financial and banking services
- Important information about consumerism, credit card, and predatory lending
- Credit repair issues are addressed
Understanding Personal Values, Cultural Influences and Potential Conflicts
Each of us has a unique set of values that shape how we prioritize what we do with our time, energy, and − importantly − money. Just in a single day, we may make many choices about “what is more important:”
- The enjoyment of eating out at a restaurant or the benefits of the less expensive option of eating at home
- Buying an expensive holiday present for a relative or buying a less expensive gift and saving what is left over
- Paying for financial obligations, such as child support and student loans, before spending money for “wants”
No decisions, including financial ones, are made in a vacuum. Family, religious views, cultural background, experiences in childhood and later in life, and your own personal reflections on what is important can all contribute to the set of values that drive your choices. People make all of their decisions within the very powerful context of culture, including family, ethnicity, region, community, socio-economic status, generation, and religion. Each of these factors influences beliefs, values, and experiences about money and the way financial decisions are handled.
Home Buyer Education
The Home Buyer Education Seminar is where you will receive an overview of the home-buying process from both the real estate professionals’ and home buyers’ perspectives. It outlines the purchasing steps and requirements as well as a variety of other issues including the value of a home inspection, the variety of loan types, specific public loan programs and homeowners insurance. Upon completion, attendees receive a Certificate of Achievement from the Washington State Housing Finance Commission which is required by several loan programs available to low and moderate income first-time home buyers.
During this course you get to ask the experts: What is the difference between an appraiser and a home inspector? Is home owners insurance the same as mortgage insurance? How much home owners insurance do I need? Besides a down payment, is there anything else I should save for? This five hour class is held once a month. If you’re thinking of buying, this is the class to take. Contact our main line for more information and times.