Every year the local American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) personnel train tax preparers to offer free tax assistance and preparation for taxpayers with low and middle income. You do not need to be a member of AARP or a retiree to use this service.
The Pleasant Hill Community House is used for this preparation in Pleasant Hill. Tax preparers at this site are John Blankenship, Joe Gittings, Bill Carrell, Bob Waidmann, Ginny Nixon, all of Pleasant Hill, and Mike Rodts of Fairfield Glade. They took a week-long class in January followed by an annual certification test. These people are volunteers and do not receive any payment for their services. The new people are coached by the more experienced.
The tax service will end on April 12. They will assist on Wednesdays and Fridays from 1 to 3 p.m. for those who make an appointment by calling Corey Boniface at 277-3096. Corey takes reservations, does initial taxpayer interviews, manages workflow, and helps with other administrative matters. The Pleasant Hill Community Church, UCC has provided DSL service in the Community House to aid in the use of on-line tax filing.
Software is provided by the IRS and AARP at no cost. They connect by the internet with a large server computer in Atlanta. All taxpayer data resides on that big computer. For John Blankenship, this is his 16th tax season. He is responsible for setting up the Pleasant Hill accounts and managing the taxpayer files on the server. Each taxpayer return is reviewed by him. Most of the time, his job is to review the returns, print a paper copy for the taxpayer, and prepare the return for e-filing. Each evening, he submits the e-files for that day’s work. The next day, he gets a confirmation that the return has been accepted. Occasionally a return will be rejected, and they have to correct and resubmit that return.
There are three computer stations for preparers, and one computer station for a quality reviewer. Taxpayers should expect to spend about one hour, but some may take longer. Last year the tax preparers completed 118 federal returns in Pleasant Hill. Three of the tax preparers, not always the same three, go to Sparta on Tuesdays to work with Bob Garwood from Fairfield Glade, who is local coordinator for that site. They have been doing this for six or seven years at the White County Senior Center in Sparta and fill approximately the same number of returns at Sparta as at Pleasant Hill.
Blankenship relates the following “good news” story, “In the AARP Tax Aide program, we represent the taxpayer, not the IRS, and do what we can to help the taxpayer. I remember a taxpayer several years ago whose filing status was ‘Married: Filing Separate.’ This filing status carries a high tax rate, much higher than ‘Single’ status. I asked him some questions, which, we don’t normally ask because they are none of our business. I learned that he had undergone cancer treatment during the tax year. His wife, who lived out of state, had visited with him for several weeks to help him while recovering from treatment. She had then returned to her own home. Her income was below the filing limit, and she was not required to file a return. In the tax software there is an obscure question ‘Did your spouse live with you at any time during the last 6 months of the year?’ Answering yes to that question caused his tax to go even higher. I asked the taxpayer if his wife might be willing to file a joint return. He asked, and she agreed. This change in filing status saved the taxpayer $2,500.”
- CCHS Class of 1963 congratulates Class of 2013
Putt for the Cure miniature golf tournament a success
Kids of all ages enjoyed a fun outing of miniature golf Saturday at the first Putt for the Cure event, presented by Dr. Calley Jo Elsea of Cloudland Dental, to benefit the Upper Cumberland affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Players teams up with sponsors and host Pirates Plateau Golf Adventure to raise funds to help area women get needed screening exams, support patients and survivors, educate the public and support national research initiatives.
Around the Town: Attendance is the Key to success in Cumberland County!
High school attendance is up and 10 cars have been given away. This is all thanks to some forward thinking educators along with Dave and Connie Kirk and the staff at Dave Kirk Automotive. This year marks the 10th anniversary, or a decade, of what the high school students call "Dave Kirk Drawing Day." Or, in layman's terms, some junior or senior from Cumberland County High School, Stone Memorial High School or Phoenix School wins a brand spanking new vehicle.
End of another great year for Neighbors and Newcomers
Referred to as the "best little club on the mountain," Neighbors and Newcomers will be holding its last meeting of the year May 23. After a fun-filled, interesting and exciting year, the group will enjoy this end-of-the-year lunch at the Cumberland County Fairgrounds.
Seniors to visit Sutton General Store May 18
On May 10, the members of the 127 Senior Center had a good time socializing, playing bingo, dominos and billiards. Numbers were called by Arlene Simmons, with the prizes furnished by Bob Folger, with State Farm Insurance.
Published May 15, 2013.
Pow-wow set for May 18-19
Everyone is invited to come attend the educational and cultural event, Pow-Wow on the Plateau "Honoring All Survivors" on May 18 and 19 at the Cumberland County Fairgrounds. There will be many Indian tribes and dance styles represented. Bert Cox will be the master of ceremonies.
PLEASANT HILL RAMBLINGS: Therapy gym opens at Uplands
Functional Pathways, Inc. is the Uplands Village therapy provider for physical, occupational and speech therapy. A new therapy gym has been established in the renovated Apartment 4 at 23 Heritage Loop next door to the new home health care office and respite rooms. The Village and Fletcher residents will receive their therapy in the gym. Wharton Homes residents will have therapy in the Wharton therapy rooms.
FAIR PARK: Crossville’s Got Talent is this Friday
Crossville really has so much talent in this area. Some is home grown, and others have decided to enjoy retiring in the county. The Fair Park Senior Center recently held auditions for the third annual Crossville’s Got Talent Show, and everyone who tried out did a great job, but the show is very limited to only two hours. So not all the people who tried out got to be in the show.
PLATEAU GARDENING: Pruning pines
The time for spring pruning of pines is right now while new growth (commonly called "candles") is still pale green and flexible. Waiting until later in the season or using tools like hand-held or long-handled pruners doesn’t give good results.
- More Lifestyles Headlines