United Way Fights For...
single widows like April.
April was going through some hard times. Her husband had died suddenly about two years ago, leaving her alone with three children. Although April worked, the family had depended primarily on her husband’s salary. He’d also been the one who handled their taxes and other financial matters.
The first year after her husband’s death, her husband’s former employer helped her collect insurance benefits and file taxes. The second year, April went to a paid tax preparer to do her taxes. Despite the fact she was supporting her three children, the preparer erroneously had her file as “single” based on her husband having died. That year her refund was only $600 although she’d had thousands of dollars withheld from her pay.
Last year she couldn’t afford to pay a tax preparer and wasn’t sure how she was going to file. After she heard ads for the VITA program and realized that her income qualified her for free tax prep. She went to the VITA site at Hartnell College with all her forms. As the trained VITA volunteer learned more about her situation, he realized that she should have been filing as a “qualifying widow”.
Because of her relatively low income and because she was supporting her three children, she also qualified for a very generous Earned Income Tax Credit. In total, April got a $7,000 combined refund of federal and state taxes. She used that money to pay off some bills, pay for her children’s sports activities and set some aside for college. VITA is also helping her file an amended return for the previous year so that she can claim the total refund she is owed.
The VITA volunteer changed April’s life for the better. Thanks to his expertise and insightfulness, April and her family have more disposal income each month.