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The United Way held a picnic April 16 at Starkey Wilderness Park to recognize the more than 150 volunteers who helped with the annual Prosperity Campaign, which provides free tax preparation services to help lower income residents obtain their tax refunds.

Trained volunteers filed about 7,500 tax returns this year, bringing in $7.4 million in refunds to Pasco residents. The average refund was $1,245. About 1,091 working taxpayers were eligible for the earned income tax credit, receiving an average $1,434. Less than one in five of the taxpayers served through the Prosperity Campaign owed money - the average amount due was $827.

Tax season is over, but anyone needing tax assistance may call the United Way help line at 211. Anyone interested in volunteering for next year's tax season may e-mail

The United Way of Pasco County's mission is to advance the common good in the local community by creating opportunities for a better life and addressing the underlying causes of problems, thus creating long-lasting changes. It coordinates the Prosperity Campaign in conjunction with the IRS and the AARP.