Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A taxing experience...

Yikes! As my Uncle Rob reminded me tonight it's been forever since I last wrote and I have some serious updating to do. The biggest activity I've been dabbling in lately is filing tax returns.

Let's travel back in time 12 or so years. Picture young Alissa sitting at the dining room table with a younger-ish Dad. Math books, papers, pencil and a calculator are spread out. My dad is explaining some math concept over and over and I'm still not getting it. Flashforward through several math tutors and some very basic math requirements in college and here we are today. I'm not good at math, that's why I'm in communications - I don't have to deal with it very often and when I do I have someone double-check my work.

So you can imagine that filing other people's taxes might not be an activity I would pursue. But you'd be wrong.

Back in December I worked with the United Way of King County to organize a workplace giving campaign in my office. Our United Way coordinator convinced me that I could be good at their tax campaign for low income families in the area. After about 16 hours of training and a test (which I almost had a perfect score on!) I started volunteering three hours every Saturday in Kent doing taxes for others. Nevermind that I had never even done my own taxes - that would come later.

I have to say, I enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would. I have no idea how many returns I did but some days it seemed like I saw 10-12 families. Most people got money back which was the highlight of my time, but one of the hardest things was having to tell people they owed money. And I did my own tax return for the first time ever.

I haven't been audited yet, so I think I can say it's been a successful adventure :)

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