Taxation; Tribulation or Treasure?

Man, I do love a good alliteration.

Tonight, I finished my federal taxation midterm looking forward to a refreshing cold one while playing hooky (sorry, mom!) from my night class. I said adios to my peers, walked toward the brewery and remembered that there’s normally VITA on Wednesday nights when I’m usually in class.

VITA is the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program that I co-coordinate with at the University of San Francisco site. My co-coordinator was hosting the VITA session tonight, after using her previous Tuesday evening to help me when I hosted. She could have used that canceled-class time to do something far more appealing than taxes, but instead she came in to volunteer for a couple hours last night – and here I was, Wednesday night, ditching class to go drink beer and vent about stuff.

I called my friend to tell her I’ll text her when VITA is over, and I wouldn’t be able to make it to the brewery for a few hours.

“And man, getting a tax return for them – their rightfully owned cash – or at least decreasing the excess taxes they owe, feels far better than drinking a beer and shooting the shit. “

I still got a beer, but I got it from my fridge around 11pm after a successful evening of processing and submitting returns for people in need. We have elderly clients, disabled clients, cancer fighters, students, homeless, all sorts of people that come in to fulfill their citizenly duty.  And man, getting a tax return for them – their rightfully owned cash – or at least decreasing the excess taxes they owe, feels far better than drinking a beer and shooting the shit.

Tonight, was the last night of the 2017 tax season for VITA at USF, after a tax season that began with counting down the weeks until April 18th. It wasn’t easy, in fact, it fueled my desire and need for a beer sometimes, but it was so so so rewarding. The energy, and large, contagious smiles from people who are so so grateful for this free service when every penny counts, is all so worth it.

“Through the emotional exhaustion, and the navigating through tax rules, and the breaking the news that the taxpayer has to owe, and the sending clients away because they were out of our scope… it was incredible.”

I’m not one to normally write (especially publicly), and I didn’t even really know what to write tonight, hence the rambling about taxes, but I do believe it is important to reflect on happenings. This happening was a large part of my life for a number of months, and taught me, well, a lot about how taxes are done, but also so much more than just IRS regulations.

Through the emotional exhaustion, and the navigating through tax rules, and the breaking the news that the taxpayer has to owe, and the sending clients away because they were out of our scope… it was incredible. The joy that people get when they receive a return is something that fueled my nights, and gave me the sense of such accomplishment; it’s a rewarding feeling when a taxpayer is just extremely grateful for the service – whether they are owing the government or receiving a return.

Besides the actual numbers, I got to know the lives of many. Taxes bring out the skeletons in the closets, and it puts life into perspective; reminds me to count my blessings.

Who loves taxes? Nobody loves taxes. But I think I just might.

 

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