Tag taxcenter (7)

Tax volunteering: recap
Mood: thoughtful
Posted on 2011-04-24 14:25:00
Tags: taxcenter
Words: 121

I volunteered this year again at the Community Tax Center . It's a really neat service and they help a lot of people.

That said, I'm very uncertain about doing it next year. I would usually leave early from work, grab supper, and then only have an hour or two before they closed. And every time almost all the computers were taken by other volunteers, so I ended up doing almost exclusively quality reviews. Honestly, most of the time I didn't feel like they needed my help - there were so many UT students volunteers!

So...I don't know. I like helping out but I didn't feel particularly useful, especially for the amount of time I put in.

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1099Q? WTF??
Mood: accomplished
Music: Sonya Kitchell - "Too Beautiful"
Posted on 2006-04-13 14:37:00
Tags: taxcenter
Words: 274

So, I volunteered at the tax center for the last time last night. Going in to the night, I was a little disappointed with the experience this year as opposed to last year - our site (Goodwill) tended to be less busy than the one we worked at last year, especially by the time I got there, so I did a lot fewer returns this year. And I translated a fair bit more Spanish, which was fun but stressful and I'm not very good at it.

But, as expected, there were a ton of people yesterday. There was a small lull right around dinnertime, but I got there at 5:15 and didn't leave until 9:45 (the center closes at 9). I did a bunch of returns and a lot of translating too. By the end, I was exhausted but happy; I had helped a lot of people, including a few that had gone to commercial tax preparers last year (so I was saving them money as well). I also discovered what a 1099Q form is (disbursement from an educational fund of some sort), and that the earnings aren't taxable. Whee!

I'm a little sad we most likely won't be around next year to work there, but I'm hoping we find something similar wherever we end up (and I suspect we will, since the program is run by the IRS). Anyway, if you're looking for a volunteerish activity next November or so (which is when the training is), I'd highly recommend it - you get to help people face-to-face, it really isn't terribly difficult, and you can learn more about taxes and such :-)

(and djedi's back - yay!)

1 comment

projects and work and stuff!
Mood: upbeat
Music: Tori Amos - "Hotel"
Posted on 2005-11-18 13:15:00
Tags: todolist work yahoomap taxcenter
Words: 315

Ugh...so I get in this cycle where I think about things to post about, then I get busy and don't have time to, and then when I do have time to post I feel like I have so much to write about that it's overwhelming. So I don't post. Well, the cycle (this current one, anyway) ends here! Here's my decidedly incomplete post:

haha, I can't think of anything to say.

I've improved my todo list some - now you can have categories and whatnot. Still planning on tweaking it some more (so you can delete and reorder categories), and adding some sort of reminder feature (like a tickler file from "Getting Things Done").

Also, I did up a yahoo map much like my google map. It mostly works, although I want to make the markers load faster and make it zoom in when you double click. The map is based on the Beta Yahoo Maps, which uses Flash. I think I still like Google Maps a little better, but Yahoo has some nice features, as well as geocoding (turning an address into a latitude and longitude) built into the API, which I might play around with at some point.

Work is going well today. Yesterday things were going poorly, but I finally tracked down a mysterious bug yesterday evening (after spending two days finding it...) that greatly improved my life.

This weekend djedi and I are going to see Harry Potter at the Alamo Drafthouse, which I am excited about (the reviews are pretty good).

Last week we went to orientation for the tax center we're going to volunteer with again this year. It was OK (most of the stuff we already knew) but it was nice to get back in that frame of mind. Still need to go through training and get certified by the IRS. Can't wait to get the new Publication 17!


Tax day! with poll
Mood: frustrated
Music: Hilary Duff - "Come Clean"
Posted on 2005-04-15 14:22:00
Tags: taxcenter
Words: 77

Work isn't going well, so a quick update.

Yes, I like Hilary Duff. I can take the abuse!

So Wednesday was my last day volunteering at the tax center (djedi's going in today, brave soul...) It was pretty busy, but we weren't swamped. I'm glad we did it - I learned a lot and it was nice to be able to help people. Although I will be glad to have my Wednesday evenings back.

More frustrating work ahead...


My eventful day
Mood: worried but hopeful
Music: Coldplay - "Trouble"
Posted on 2005-03-10 12:36:00
Tags: taxcenter
Words: 680

Doesn't that sound like it should be the title of a middle-school essay? Anyway, yesterday was quite eventful for me - nothing earth-shattering, just a lot of atypical things. So I thought I'd share them.

Morning was pretty uninteresting, except I'm just starting on a new project that looks like it's going to be difficult and I'm worried about completing in the time I said I could. Plus it's at a weird intersection of like three different things, so there are few people who can really help me on it. We'll see how it goes...

Barbara was in town for spring break (she left this morning), so she, Jonathan, David and I met for lunch at Bangkok Cuisine, which I hadn't been to. It was pretty good stuff! We had the lunch buffet. With fried bananas. Mmm...

Then I did some more unproductive work, and left around 3:00 for our release party (we released a bunch of stuff in January, yay!) It was at Austin's Park 'n Pizza, which I hadn't been to, but it's a pretty cool place, kinda like Celebration Station. I was a little wary of the whole thing (we had been assigned teams for "team-building exercises"), but we played laser tag and did go-karts, which was a lot of fun. After that we were free to do what we wanted, but I had to leave to go volunteer at the tax center.

Volunteering was...well, it was really depressing. I only saw two people. (being delibrately kinda vague here for privacy reasons) The first was a lady who didn't make much money and had lost her job in October and hadn't found one yet. (at least she came to us instead of going to H & R Block like she had done last year) She was obviously lonely and so she chatted with me for a while, but she seemed sad. Not only that, but although she got a decent refund, she owed the IRS back taxes, and so all of it was going to them (and she still owed them more). So that was depressing.

The second was a lady with a really complicated return - she lived in Massachusetts and had moved down here in 2004, so I told her we couldn't do the Massachusetts state taxes. We did the federal ones, though, and things seemed to be going fine (she got a decent refund). But she knew that she was going to owe state taxes, and so she wanted to send the info to her daughter, who's going to school there, so she could file for her (I didn't know if you can do this or what). And then she just sounded more and more desperate, and she said she was leaving the country soon to work at KBR (sounded like she was going to Iraq), and she didn't want her daughter to know, but she really needed the money.

So I left the tax center really really depressed, and grabbed some food on the way home, and listened to Frou Frou in the car. Frou Frou is great great stuff, and it helped some. I got home and met up with David, Barbara and Teresa & Lucas, who is as cute as ever (he's really growing - he can understand commands now and stuff. Fun!). So we played with him for a while, then Teresa & Lucas left and Christi and David showed up, so we chatted for a while, then played a game. Later we watched some TV with Barbara & Jonathan. Anyway, I guess the point was that it was nice to just hang out with friends and such - we haven't been doing a lot of that lately for various reasons (mostly other people's reasons, really)

So now I'm worried about my project again since I can't seem to make any progress at all. Hopefully that will change soon.

I see amorphousplasma has an on-site interview at NI - good luck! I'd be happy to talk to you about the whole experience, except I really have no idea what tech writer interviews are like. But the weekend is fun... :-)


tax volunteering
Mood: excited
Music: Vanessa Carlton - "White Houses"
Posted on 2005-03-04 14:14:00
Tags: taxcenter
Words: 306

It's Friday! Yay! And Barbara's coming down to visit, which should be fun.

Anyway, David and I have been volunteering at a community tax center (http://www.claimandsave.org) where we do people's taxes and file them for free. It's a really neat service, and I've learned a lot about the tax code. Some random thoughts that I've had about it:

Um, that's mostly it. Anyway, it's good stuff.

1 comment

Raise the minimum wage!
Mood: hopeful
Music: DJ Danger Mouse - "What More Can I Say"
Posted on 2005-03-03 10:03:00
Tags: taxcenter
Words: 312

I just wrote an email to both of my senators asking them to raise the minimum-wage (the issue is coming up for debate soon), and I would encourage you to do the same. It's really very easy - you can find your senators websites from www.senate.gov, and most of them have a contact form where you can paste in the text of your letter. Here's my letter if you want a model:

I would urge you to support increasing the minimum wage. The minimum wage is currently $5.15, and in fact has not increased since 1997, which means that, in effect, it has been going down since then. A full-time worker earning minimum wage would make only $10,712 a year, which is well below the poverty line for a family of three. An increase of the minimum wage to even $7.00 would help to eliminate this disparity.

On a more personal note, I have been volunteering with Foundation Communities in their Claim + Save Community Tax Centers (http://www.claimandsave.org) to help low income people and families in the Austin area do their taxes. I can assure you that many of these people do make minimum wage, and an increase of the minimum wage to $7.00, while still a relatively low amount, would boost their incomes by 36 percent. Not only that, but it will also help to stimulate the economy, as lower income workers tend to spend more of their income.

I would be delighted to hear your thoughts on raising the minimum wage. Thank you for your time.

Feel free to use it, except for the personal part, unless you do volunteer there :-) There's some information available at http://www.epinet.org/content.cfm/issueguides_minwage_minwagefacts and http://www.epinet.org/content.cfm/issueguides_minwage_minwagefaq.

Keeping in touch with your elective representatives is a great way to stay involved with what's going on in politics and the world around you, and it's pretty easy to do. Go democracy!


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