Air date: April 12, 2012
You don’t often think of the words free and taxes in the same sentence, but thanks to folks like Marshall Hunt you can. Marshall: We provide free electronic filing of federal and state tax returns and city tax returns. It’s called the Accounting Aid Society, made up of volunteers helping poor people do their taxes. Hunt volunteered for it 30 years ago when he was working for the IRS. Marshall: I tried it one Saturday and then for every Saturday since then I have been doing taxes during the season. If you earn less than $25,000 or your family less than $50,000 you qualify for the free service. With 20 different locations plenty of folks take advantage. Mitch Albom: So this place is bustling here now since obviously it is April. Marshall: A few years ago we were doing a couple thousand returns. We were up to 20,000 last year. AAS now have over 600 volunteers. You don’t need to be an accountant to help out. Just be reasonably good with a computer and be willing to learn. Volunteer 1: If we weren’t here to provide this service for them then they would not receive these benefits at all. Volunteer 2: I was taking a tax class with Professor Hunt and I thought it was a great program. Thanks to AAS tax season does not have to be frightening or expensive to low income citizens. Often they are shown refunds they didn’t know they had coming. At the very least it saves them the cost of a tax preparation service and they know it is done right. Mitch: Are there moments when they reach across the table and say thank you that kind of makes this whole process worth while? Marshall: Always, that is always a great moment. Last year we helped 20,613 tax payers. Mitch: That is spoken like an accountant. LAUGHING MITCH VO: Making taxes a little less scary and a lot friendlier, Marshall Hunt and AAS are putting good numbers into The Heart of Detroit.