Monday, February 28, 2011

Low Income Tax Help

More and more individuals are finding themselves having to make do with less. I am no exception. Before making a purchase, they scrutinize whether or not they truly need an item. Not just luxury purchases like chocolate, but mainstays like rice, vegetables or toilet paper. Is the product a good value for their money? Do they already have a bag of rice at home or a few rolls of toilet paper?

These should not be decisions we should have to ponder, yet many are faced with these choices everyday. Some families have to endure more than just food selection. They must decide if they should purchase much needed medication or pay the water or electric bill. With rising gasoline costs, they must now choose fuel for their automobile or fuel for their stomachs. It's a catch 22.

When almost everything has increased there is still a value for those in need for filing income taxes - The Accounting Aid Society.

The Accounting Aid Society is a metro Detroit non-profit that assists low-income residents file federal and state income taxes for free. That's right, free. If you make over $25,000 you cannot qualify for this service performed by trained volunteers. Volunteers that bring their CPA expertise, finance and other background credentials together to help people get optimum refund at no cost.

The beneficiary's are usually living paycheck to paycheck. The refund they receive is mostly used to buy essentials like food, rent, or gasoline - not a high definition television or vacation in Aruba or iPhone. They need the refund to survive. These are proud people, working or retired just squeaking by in this economy.

Consider some of the stories of people I have helped as a volunteer. A young couple with two children, one of which is permanently disabled, facing foreclosure. The husband can only get part-time work and is desperate to find a job with benefits to help his family. The only clothing they get is free from the church. The wife developed cancer and needed surgery.

An older husband and wife came to my table and told me of how they were a single family household. When their son lost his job, he and his family moved back with the parents. Then, another child lost their job and moved back home with their spouse. The parents should be enjoying retirement. Instead, they help provide for two families. All the adults in the household work just to meet the mortgage payments and other bills.

Michigan's Governor Snyder touted about balancing the state's budget and cutting much needed funding to energize the economy and create jobs. What do people do until these jobs emerge? How do they survive?

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