LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – Ronnie Smith is overcoming the deepest loss of his life, while now navigating a deadline.

The California man moved to Henderson four months ago after he said he sold the ranch and animals on it that he had shared with his wife. He couldn’t afford or take care of them alone.

“I’m just trying to recuperate from my wife passing away,” Smith said with a long sigh outside Manuel Cortez Elementary School Friday morning. “I had grandkids. They had to go live with someone else because I wasn’t able to take care of them by myself.”

After his world flipped upside down, he landed in the valley without work. In the midst of recovery, he’s also anxious about a deadline this Tuesday.

“I don’t know how to do taxes. I haven’t done them in a while,” Smith said. “I don’t really have the finances. This is one of the reasons I haven’t filed because of up and down situations in my life.”

Lucky for him, and thousands of others in Clark County, there’s help available this weekend.

United Way of Southern Nevada (UWSN), in partnership with the Secretary of State’s Office, VITA Sites, and Chicanos Por La Causa are holding free help for lower-income families with tax filing and other financial resources this weekend.

Janet Quintero, Vice President of External Affairs for UWSN, said both locations were chosen since they are “key” areas central to the populations they’re attempting to help.

“We’re going straight to communities where we know that families and individuals will appreciate it most. They can walk over to us,” Quintero said at the elementary school Friday morning. “That’s money they deserve, that they’ve earned over the year.”

Participants meet with volunteers like Magda Lopez, with the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA). She said certain credits that were increased during the pandemic are now back to 2019 levels.

“We have many clients who haven’t done their taxes since 2016 and older years,” Lopez said while detailing the obstacles for these communities to access programs like these. “Those people that had big refunds in 20-20 and 20-21, the refunds are not as big this year.”

All the more reason to seek help, she said. But, according to Niel Montemayor, compliance audit investigator for the Nevada Secretary of State’s Securities Division, these families are urgently turning to last-minute help, which could conversely cost them.

“That’s a big risk and danger for them right now,” Montemayor said when speaking about tax filing fraud. “If (fraudulent tax return preparers are) not properly licensed or knowledgeable, they could take the person’s money and not file the paperwork. Or, do it in a way that the person who actually signed, the person who wants to file their taxes, is liable and accountable, and they never see that other person again.”

Smith feels a burden lifted off his shoulders after receiving the help he needed Friday. He urges others in his position to take advantage of the free opportunity.

“There’s a lot of people that’s like me, that don’t have funds to pay for taxes every year, living from paycheck to paycheck. This is really beneficial,” Smith said with a smile as he walked out of the event.

Another free event will be on Saturday near Downtown Las Vegas at 555 N. Maryland Pkwy. Organizers recommend bringing:

  • Valid driver’s license or photo identification
  • Social Security cards or Individual Taxpayer Identification notices/cards for you, your
  • spouse, and your dependents
  • Birth dates for you, your spouse, and/or dependents on the return
  • All forms W-2, 1099, and information for other income received
  • A copy of last year’s tax return and information for all deductions/credits
  • Daycare payment records and daycare provider’s Tax ID number
  • Checking and Savings Account and Routing number(s)
  • If filing jointly, both spouses must be present and sign the return
  • Health insurance coverage information for all members of the household (if applicable)

Tax Day is set for Tuesday, April 18.