Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Your Taxes are Due today!

Kylee Mitchell
Program Officer, Detroit Regional Workforce Fund
United Way for Southeastern Michigan

My dad always reminded me that two things in life are surely guaranteed, “death and taxes.” I remember sitting with him at our family dining table on a Sunday afternoon when I was 12. The table was littered with tax forms, files, papers and calculator.

My mom asked, "Dan, why won’t you prepare the taxes in the family room?" Despite her urgings, my dad ignored my mom and remained at the table for what seemed to be the entire afternoon sifting through papers, adding numbers and entering digits on multiple forms.

I have always admired my dad for taking the time to prepare his own tax returns, and appreciate that he passed that tradition down to me. A person's financial stability begins with understanding personal finances. I have prepared my own tax returns since I was a teenager ever since I started my first job at the Detroit Zoological Park. Since then, I have assisted hundreds of people throughout the years gain a better understaning of their financial position during my work as a certified tax preparer.

Today marks the infamous tax day. This is one of the most important days of the year for working class individuals. Many tax filers know that refundable tax credits are a lifesaver and can be helpful in reducing the amount of taxes owed to Uncle Sam.

The Earned Income Tax Credit works to provide additional funds for low- to moderate-income families. The EITC is essential to these individuals and families. Our Centers for Working Families help residents with understanding their financial positions throughout the year, not just during the tax season. If you visit one of our centers, you will be introduced to a financial coach who will guide you toward improving your saving habits, reducing your monthly budget and meeting your financial goals.

Understanding your financial position is a continuous process. Life events determine where we land financially at a given point in time. I encourage you to take control of your finances and visit one of our Centers for Working Families. Also, if you haven’t done so, complete your 2011 tax return today.

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