Volunteer Spotlight: Couple Volunteers with Free Tax Prep
Chris joined our Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Free Tax Prep Program as a volunteer tax preparer in 2015. John joined the volunteer team the following year as a screener/greeter. They both enjoy meeting clients that visit the GraceWorks Ministries tax prep site, and helping seniors and low-income taxpayers. They work with clients that return every year, and find it rewarding to hear about their past year, their families, and to help with their current tax situation.
John and Chris were born in Akron, Ohio on the same day (different years) in the same hospital. They married in 1972 and spent the following 20 years living in Mexico City (where their two sons were born), Panama (where their daughter was born), Lima Peru, Caracas Venezuela, and Akron. This June, they look forward to welcoming their fifth grandchild.
John started working for Firestone Tire & Rubber Company in Akron while he was attending the University of Akron. The couple moved to Middle Tennessee in 1994 after Bridgestone purchased Firestone and transferred all major departments to Nashville. He retired from Bridgestone in 2001 after 37 years of service and then worked part-time for 15 years with Mitsui Trading Company.
During 1984, while living in Akron, Chris took the H&R Block tax course and loved preparing taxes. She worked for there for two tax seasons while also providing tax prep and bookkeeping for a CPA. After moving to Brentwood, she worked for a sole practitioner until his firm merged with Blankenship CPA Group in Brentwood. She retired from BCPAG in 2014 after 26 years of tax preparation and bookkeeping.
Chris and John feel that one of the challenges volunteers face when providing free tax prep is the constant change in U.S. tax code.
United Way’s Free Tax Prep program is certified by the IRS, and all volunteers must receive certification. Chris and John found the IRS tax-preparation training and supplements “very detailed and good.”
“We strive to help the taxpayer take advantage of all available tax deductions and credits that they are entitled to have,” they explained. “It is very rewarding helping them receive refunds they deserve and giving suggestions as to how to improve their tax situation for the coming year when they owe a balance.”
It’s never too late (or early) to join our VITA Free Tax Prep team! Consider offering your time and talent in your community. You can get free volunteer training to fill important roles. Learn more about becoming a VITA volunteer.