For over 25 years, the Center for Economic Progress has helped income-qualified individuals and families become more financially stable. Leveraging the power of volunteers, we are a trusted provider of free, year-round tax and financial services under the banner of “Service with Dignity.” Whether you prefer to help by working directly with clients or by providing support behind the scenes, we have a place for you! Most positions do not require previous experience; we provide training and certification at no cost to our volunteers.
We serve our income-qualified clients in three ways:
- Preparing Federal and Illinois tax returns at no charge, helping to maximize savings and educating clients on credits they may be eligible to claim
- Improving financial health by providing group presentations on basic budgeting, credit building, or tax tips and working one-on-one with members of our Project Money financial coaching program
- Representing and advising taxpayers who have problems with the IRS or Illinois Department of Revenue in coordination with Tax Clinic professional staff or pro bono CPAs, enrolled agents, or lawyers
As you may or may not know, we are merging with Ladder Up, another powerful VITA organization that has been focused on the same mission of free tax prep and financial services for over 25 years, just like CEP. Both CEP and Ladder Up provide our volunteers with an easy-to-use online portal, online training, in-person training classes to help you certify and tons of support to help you be successful.
The main differences between us: the locations we serve and the tax software we use! Ladder Up uses Pro Series and CEP uses TaxWise (don’t worry, each organization will provide you with training on how to use our software)
To help you decide where you’d like to volunteer, here are links to CEP’s and Ladder Up’s volunteering sites:
List of CEP Volunteering Sites
List of Ladder Up Volunteering Sites
If you’re interested in learning more about Ladder Up, check out their website and see what you think.
If you’re ready to volunteer with CEP, let’s get started! We need Tax Preparers, Tax Site Specialists and Savings Coaches. Here's how to get started for each role:
- Complete your online training
- Attend an in-person training class
- Pass the Certification Test
- Register for Volunteer Shifts
Browse our volunteer positions for more information and to find one that works for you! If you have any questions, please contact our Volunteer Engagement team at firstname.lastname@example.org or (312) 630-0288.