This year the federal income tax filing deadline has been delayed by 3 days. Due to the Washington, DC holiday Emancipation Day being observed on April 15, filers have until Monday, April 18 to get their paperwork in order and submitted to the IRS.
For those of you still working on your taxes, we want to help. If you plan to write off Salvation Army in-kind donations, we have a helpful Donation Value Guide that offers the low and high estimated worth of a long list of appliances, clothing, furniture, household goods, and miscellaneous items.
(Bad joke warning!) Feel free to refer to this guide to make your taxes just a little less…taxing.
Hopefully you’ve finished your tax returns since today is the deadline to have those in the mail! By tomorrow, thankfully, that burden should be behind us.
And as a nice surprise, some Salvation Army clients in Ohio recently found their tax burden has turned into a tax blessing!
Last week we discussed how many Salvation Army community centers offer free tax filing preparation and assistance. Specifically, The Salvation Army of Marion, Ohio is the 2nd most active participating site in their state, serving 489 people to date and completing 495 federal and 392 state tax returns. Adena Pennington, the Income Tax Program Director, is also the 2nd most active program director in the state. In total, more than $500,600 refund dollars have been requested from Marion County through this free program, and they’ve had many happy clients!
Sheryl Simmons from the Marion Salvation Army recounted the story of a woman named Anne who made an appointment to have an Ohio Benefit Bank counselor assist her with her federal and state income tax filing. Anne is married with 1 child but was filing separately from her husband. After completing her tax forms, Anne was to get a federal refund of $111.00. She then spoke with The Salvation Army about her tax return, and Sheryl recommended she and her husband file jointly so as to qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). They agreed, and not only did they qualify for the EITC of $2,000, they also received a child tax credit, earning them a total refund of more than $4,000! Anne and her husband will also be making an appointment to have their 2008 return amended since they’ve been filing separately for several years, and chances are they’ll probably receive a significant refund for that return as well.
Marion Salvation Army’s Major Jim Sayer said, “This is why we provide this service. This family did not know that they could qualify, and that their filing status prevented them from claiming the EITC.”
Sheryl said several days later a woman named Pat came into The Salvation Army for a food appointment. She had gone to a local “professional tax preparation chain” and was charged almost $300 to have her return filed. Since she did not have the money to pay the company, they deducted the fee from her refund. Pat still owed taxes from a previous year so her refund would not be returned, and now she still owes the company $300. Once Pat discovered that The Salvation Army files tax returns free of charge, she vowed to come to them instead next year.
Benjamin Franklin once wrote in a letter to French physicist Jean Baptiste Leroy, “In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.”
Now, more than 220 years following those insightful words, Americans are gearing up for Tax Day, as April 15 is only about a week away.
If you still haven’t completed your return or are in need of assistance, The Salvation Army may be able to help.
Some of our Salvation Army community centers are partnering with the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) to offer free tax preparation and assistance to low income and elderly taxpayers who qualify. You can contact your local Salvation Army community center to see if they offer this service. The IRS website also has more information on the VITA program and offers the contact number 1-800-906-9887 to call for VITA site locations.
The Salvation Army in Sheboygan, Wisconsin said they expect to assist with between 700 and 800 returns this year by the April 15 deadline. In Sioux City, Iowa The Salvation Army’s Captain Capt. Von Vandiver told local news station KPTH 44 that most of their clients received $400 in returns for each taxpayer they helped.
Another useful tool for taxpayers regardless of your income bracket is The Salvation Army’s valuation guide, which you can find here on our website www.satruck.org. This is incredibly handy for estimating the worth of your tax deductable, in-kind donations from clothes to appliances to cars, and The Salvation Army will provide you with a receipt when you drop them off in store or schedule a home pick up.
Also, don’t forget that if you donated to Haiti relief efforts before March 1, 2010, the federal government passed into law the charitable deduction bill that says your 2010 donation can count towards your 2009 return.
Hopefully this information will be able to help in some way as you work on your return. Best wishes in getting everything completed by April 15!