Taxes are fun- they really are!

November 2023

by Julie Capaldi, President, United Way of Pickens County

Robert and his wife were newly retired and living a lovely life at the lake. As he made his first donation to United Way of Pickens County, Robert stressed that they wanted to be “involved and engaged” in their new community.

Hot dog, a prospect!  “How would you like to do taxes for our Free File program?”, I suggested.  His face fell faster than the setting sun on a cold winter’s day.   “Just go to the information session before you make your decision”, I said softly. “Just see.”

Here’s the story straight from Robert…

“I accidentally opened my mouth to Julie about how I wanted to really get my hands dirty doing some volunteer work, as opposed to just writing checks, and boy did she jump on that one.  I agreed to join an information session on the Free File tax program but wasn't really serious about doing that kind of volunteer work.  

After learning about this incredible program from Nicole and finding out how flexible you can participate in it, I decided to give it a shot.  It ended up being one of the most rewarding and enjoyable forms of volunteering that I have ever participated in and I can't wait to join it again this year.”

I was right.  Doing taxes is fun.  In all seriousness, it’s the gratitude of the people that really hooks you once you start.  There is nothing more fulfilling than hearing the words of thanks from people who are low to moderate income, especially once they find out that they are getting a refund.

As we prepare for this tax season, we have a new reason to want as many volunteers as possible.  United Way of Pickens County has received funding from the IRS!  That is how much they believe in Free File and Pickens County.  They have set big goals for us, 2,500 completed, correct returns…1,000 more than last year.
With the help of our volunteers, I think that will be a piece of cake.  There is room on our Free File team for you. We need greeters and preparers pronto.  Don’t worry.  There is free training in person or online…or both.

Give Free File Manager Nicole Zeiset a call or email her for more information. Her direct line is 864-850-7094 x131.  You can also apply online at

Last year, we recruited over 30 volunteers.  The fact that most of them are returning year after year, says something about this amazing program.  Just ask Robert!