Free income tax preparation helps community

It is vital partnerships that make our community better, and the 2017 Free Income Tax Preparation program is a great example. The Volunteer Center, United Way of Allen County, American Red Cross, St. Mary’s Mother of God Church, together with other community partner groups help our Allen County neighbors become more financially stable.

The 2017 VITA Free Income Tax program:

* Prepared 3,211 tax returns

* Brought back $3,523,317 tax returns to the Allen County community.

* Saved residents more than $1 million in tax preparation fees

* 68 percent of taxpayers served earned less than $25,000.

Sixty-four dedicated and highly trained volunteers made this happen. IRS Certified Tax Preparation volunteers are trained to identify tax payers who will qualify for EITC and other tax credits. The goal is to make sure that each and every taxpayer will be able to maximize their return. Volunteers also assist the tax preparers in planning for the next tax year.

Funding from an IRS grant, United Way of Allen County, Corporation for National and Community Service, Chase Bank and other resources provide the investment and additional resources to make this program possible. <br>

<i> Jean Joley, executive director, Volunteer Center </i><br>

<center> What exactly is it that we are smiling about? </center><br>

Watching a smiling Mayor Tom Henry ceremoniously cut the ribbon last week on a $240-million waste-water project, some wondered what would be our situation had the city addressed the problem at its start.

That would have been 20 years ago when it became clear that the federal government was going to force action. To scribble on the envelope, the city’s 77,000 or so water customers could have been assessed a modest $12 monthly surcharge beginning back then and avoided bonding and related fees that have doubled the total cost.

In addition, city officials would have been in a position to design a system to fit Fort Wayne’s needs rather than have one dictated by Washington bureaucrats.

Which raises the question of what, exactly, is it that we’re smiling about. <br>

<i> Craig Ladwig </i>