Larry Jordan

Everyone is related, and everything is connected.

Income Taxes Part I: Introduction

Jul 18, 2022 by Larry Jordan, in Taxes
For the last ten years, I volunteered for AARP and VITA, providing income tax assistance to low- and moderate-income people. I filed over 1,000 tax returns.

I started doing taxes because I thought that it would work my brain, but I keep doing it because of the people that I meet and the lessons that I learn.

Taxes are very personal, and you can learn a lot about a person in 30 seconds:

   "This is my W-2. I made a lot of money until I got laid off.
   "This is my 1099-MISC. After I got laid off, I painted houses and worked construction.
   "This is my 1099-G. After my savings ran out, I collected unemployment.
   "This is my 1099-R. After my bills piled up, I cashed out my retirement savings."

30 seconds. That's more than I know about you. That's more than you know about me. This is a sad story, but it's not an unusual story. According to a recent Federal Reserve Board survey, almost half of Americans would have trouble finding $400 to pay for an emergency.

There are emails and posts about "welfare queens" who make more from assistance than from working. Before you "like" these posts, you should fact-check them. What assistance is available in your state? How long do you have to wait? How much assistance do you receive, and how long do you receive it?

For every 100 people I meet, only two or three would rather receive assistance than receive a paycheck, but I never met anyone who makes more from assistance than they would from working. The great majority of low- and moderate-income people are honest and hard-working.

Many are single mothers, many are immigrants, and all of them want the best lives for their families.

To be continued...