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Conversations: Meet Heather, A Happy Tax Filer

Conversations: Meet Heather, A Happy Tax Filer

Happy tax filer

Heather is a tax filer who reached out to us in February after she had her tax return prepared at our Volunteer Income Tax Assistance site.

How did you hear about The River Center’s free tax prep program?

Through the Keene Public Library.

How long have you been coming to have your taxes done here?

5 years

When you think of doing your taxes, how do you feel about it?

AWESOME! The River Center makes the whole process friendly and not scary.

Tell us about your experience in our VITA program.

I got lost and Janine was very patient and kind on the phone when I called to say I was going to be late and VERY reassuring. She told me to “take my time” when I found myself completely frazzled. I showed up 30 min. late for my appointment and she was kind enough to come into the living room, where I sat, and help me with any questions that I had on the confusing paper I needed to fill out. I loved her energy!

Geoff and Fran both wore striped shirts and I began our interaction with pointing out that I must have “missed the stripe memo” as I didn’t have stripes on. They were patient and clear and calm and professional. I loved the story Fran told me as well.

What did you think of the volunteers who prepared your taxes? 

AMAZING! They looked like twins both wearing striped shirts that day….

What do you wish people knew about our tax program?

It is FREE and available! Free things “go away” when not “used”. Take advantage!!

Do you feel that this tax program is a benefit to the community and if so, what do you think it brings to the table for people? If not, what do you think could be done differently?

Definitely benefit. I am a single Mom, I don’t itemize and I can’t afford the $200 fee [elsewhere] just so a computer program can do 90% of the work…

If you plan on coming back here, what draws you here vs going elsewhere?

FREE and friendly atmosphere.  I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone!  I tell everyone about you guys!

Consider us during the statewide 24 hours of giving event, NH Gives so that we may continue to support people like Heather in our Money Matters program which includes Money Coaching and Free Tax Prep.

NH Gives Banner 2019

Conversations: Meet Tara, Tax Time Saver and SaveYourRefund Winner

Conversations: Meet Tara, Tax Time Saver and SaveYourRefund Winner

VITA Tax Filer QuoteHow did you hear about The River Center’s free tax prep program? 

I was looking for free or low cost tax filing assistance online and found the River Center’s free tax prep program.

How long have you been coming to have your taxes done here?

3 years.

When you think of doing your taxes, how do you feel about it? 

I used to dread it, but I don’t anymore.

Tell us about your experience with our tax program. 

When I get my taxes prepared at the River Center, the volunteer tax preparers are very thorough and then a [quality reviewer] checks the final draft of the tax return before it is filed. I feel confident that I am getting the best possible refund.

What do you think of the volunteers who prepared your taxes?

Everyone is very personable and they are happy to answer all of my questions.

What do you wish people knew about our tax program? 

Besides being an easy and stress free process, if you save part of your tax refund, you are eligible to enter a contest to win $10,000.

Do you feel that this tax program is a benefit to the community and if so, what do you think it brings to the table for people? If not, what do you think could be done differently?

Yes, I feel that the tax program is a benefit to the community. You have more money to go towards your financial goals and the opportunity to establish or build savings. The River Center even offers resources on how to save money.

If you plan on coming back here, what draws you here vs going elsewhere?

I like getting my taxes done by people I’ve come to know and trust. I’m not just a number.

Tara was one of  SaveYourRefund‘s 2018 Grand Prize Winners. Tara started by putting some of her refund that year into savings and when she won, she also put those winnings into savings. She tells us that having this cushion to fall back on has given her the confidence and the freedom to make life choices she wouldn’t have made otherwise! Kudos to Tara for saving for a rainy day, for saving for emergencies, and for saving for her future!


TARA’S WINNING 2018 SAVEYOURREFUND ENTRY

SaveYourRefund 2018 Grand Prize Winning Entry​I am teaching her the value of saving money every week for:

The future

Her education

My retirement

An emergency fund

That vacation…

Every little bit counts. So start small. Think big. Create the life you want – one dollar at a time.

EITC Awareness Day 2019

EITC Awareness Day 2019

The EITC or Earned Income Tax Credit is a benefit designed for working people to get ahead. It reduces the tax you owe and may even give you a refund.

One out of every 5 workers in the US who is eligible to claim the EITC, does not. While the EITC amount is dependent on a number of factors, in NH the average for **EITC claimants in 2018 was $1,986, but 21.6% of eligible taxpayers did not claim this credit so $24,485,061 went unclaimed! This is money that could be used to make home improvements, pay down bills or other expenses or used to kickstart savings. The IRS encourages anyone with earnings of $54,884 or less to see if they qualify using the EITC Assistant or you can visit or call us at the contact information below.

We at The River Center's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program have a crew of dedicated IRS-CERTIFIED volunteers who are passionate about helping people with incomes of up to about $60,000 in our community keep more of their hard-earned money and access those credits such as the EITC for which they are eligible. For the families and individuals who qualify for the program, this tax preparation service and e-filing is completely FREE. We can also help you split your refund into up to 3 different ways - paper check, checking, savings if you bring your banking info to your appointment. Discuss your options with us.

Call us at (603) 924-6800 or email your phone number to taxes@rivercenter.us to make an appointment with us. Let us help you.

#EITCAwarenessDay

**Also, The law requires the IRS to hold the tax refund in order to review the claims before releasing the funds. The IRS expects the first of these refunds to be available starting Feb. 27. See www.irs.gov/refundtiming

Conversations: Christmas Angels

Conversations: Christmas Angels

Tina K., Volunteer and Christmas Angel Coordinator

Tina K., Volunteer and Christmas Angel Coordinator

“The Christmas Angels program is a program that I coordinate that helps volunteers to cover last minute emergency Christmas requests. So these might be people who moved to the area who didn’t get here in time for the regular Christmas programs or who had an emergency happen in November or December that ate up their Christmas budget – could be car repairs or medical. So people call and I have more than 3 dozen volunteers who are willing to shop and help with a family for Christmas.

Last year I remember one mom picking up her gifts and just giving me a huge hug and saying, “I am so grateful for this, because I thought I was going to be okay and then I wasn’t and now I can relax and enjoy the holiday with my kids.”

It’s just realizing that each of these angels is helping meet one small need of one family in this community and I think it’s really wonderful that we’re pulling together like this.”

Conversations: Making Connections

Conversations: Making Connections

Sheila, can you tell me what happened last Monday?
Well, on Veterans Day, The River Center was open and I came into work, a little earlier than usual. Shortly after I arrived, a man came in, saying that he had been referred to us. He told me that while he was not destitute, he suddenly found himself homeless through no fault of his own. He had just spent the last few nights sleeping in his car. He didn’t want to bother his grown children. I spent over an hour working with him that morning.

Then after I had helped him, a woman walked in saying that she, too, was homeless and was in temporary housing through her church. She was told to come to us for help in finding a more permanent living situation.

Both of them were veterans.

It was a holiday so places were probably closed, right? What did you do to help them?
We worked together to make phone calls to get them connected with services in the area. In the gentleman’s case, his situation was more urgent and because we weren’t able to connect with other places right away with it being a holiday, I asked him to come back. He returned later that day and I was able to give him more information after other services called back. I set him up with Hundred Nights in Keene for that night. The woman came back a few days later and I helped her make the phone calls she needed so she could find more stable housing. I connected both of them with organizations that help veterans specifically.

What was different about this for you?
The fact that it was Veteran’s Day made the whole scenario more poignant. It was so ironic that on the day when we are honoring veterans, they continue to have needs or crises, even if it is a holiday. Some of the places that we called were closed and were not able to give information that would help right away, but we were able to connect with them shortly after. All of this happened before 10 am!

How did you feel about your work with them?
I’m glad we were open. I’m thankful we were here and available to assist anyone who walked in or called. Also, it had to be difficult and humbling to ask for help, though I’m glad they did, and I’m glad we were here to offer the help.

Sheila is our Information & Referral Specialist. She is the first voice you will most often hear when you call The River Center and the friendly face behind the front desk.

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