VITA: Jennifer Minett
Jennifer Minett had a lot of tax questions. With every answer she received, led to another question. After showing interest in understanding the nuances of tax law, coworker Diana Clay, VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) Coordinator, recommended that she take a free tax education course that certified her to do her taxes like a professional. Now three years later, she has dedicated every tax season as a VITA volunteer helping others like her once before, needed an extra hand with their finances.
During tax season, she volunteers once a week at a tax site close to work, but enjoys most working the Super Saturdays when time permits. Super Saturdays are all day events where community members can drop in or set appointments to get free help with their taxes. “[Volunteers] get fed, get time to network, and know that you are doing something good,” Jennifer says. Her favorite part is that she gets to understand the laws behind the taxes and to help others do the same.
For many Americans, filing taxes is an added stressor, especially when having to pay for the service. “It can be very nerve-racking when you are not sure if you are getting it right.” There are a lot of misunderstandings or uncertainties when it comes to taxes and law, and that’s where VITA volunteers come in. Certified volunteers spend up one-on-one time helping community members sort through paperwork, cut through the jargon, and help file taxes all for free.
“It’s nice to see a client come in who has been struggling student and working part-time serving so that you know even getting $50 in a refund can help. A lot of the clients I work with are happy that they can file their taxes and understand what they are doing. That knowledge is empowering,”Jennifer said.
Taxpayers making less than $55,000 annually can take advantage of VITA and www.myfreetaxes.org. Both are available during tax season and summer months.