VITA: Retake Money from the Government to Give to the Poor

for started morning. We’ve got a lot more volunteers than in years past, or at least it seems that way to me, so that it’s hard for the people we’re helping to find chairs to sit in, or even elbow-room, in the crowded community center computer room.

Each client brings in a different set of tax challenges, some of which would probably be difficult for seasoned tax professionals to wrap their minds around, but we do our best to come up with complete and accurate returns based on the information we have to work with.

I helped five people file returns, and the federal government is $2,314 poorer as a result. Not everyone who files gets a refund, but most of the people I help are getting money back rather than paying money in.

A garden of miscellany:

  • Christina Cowger of “North Carolina Stop Torture Now” talks about the various ways her group is fighting at the grass-roots level to expose and fight the domestic enablers of the “extraordinary rendition” program — from Air America-like front companies like “Aero Contractors” to subsidiaries of Boeing.
  • Reuters reports that the Democrats in the House of Representatives plan to see Dubya’s $93 billion supplemental request for war funding, and then raise him $5 billion in additional military spending. And then, they’ll get to put frosting on top.
  • Speaking of pork… where do you think all that “Homeland Security” spending has been going?
  • Thanks to MetaFilter: Some links on “Possum Living”: “How To Live Well Without a Job… building a $100 Log Cabin… a geodesic dome out of cardboard… handbook for cob building… cheap solar power system… stocking up on food…” and more.
  • A “white powdery substance” in an envelope shut down the IRS mail room in Fresno . And a Connecticut tax collector was run over by a vehicle he was trying to impound.
  • The Coalition to Get the Stop Funding the War Coalition to Stop Funding the War put out a press release: “We have had enough of waiting around for politicians to take action. If those of us in the peace movement use our own power instead of begging officials to use theirs, we might actually stop this war and prevent the next one too. It’s way past time for those of us who say we stand for peace to put our money where our mouths are. Don’t pretend you can oppose the war with your rhetoric while you’re paying for it with every paycheck. The power of the purse begins with us — let’s cut the war funding at the source.”
  • And, surprise, surprise, many of the people who don’t pay their taxes in the United States are the same people who get their paychecks from the federal government. “Nearly half a million current and former U.S. federal employees have not filed tax returns. Collectively, they owe almost $3 billion.”
  • The New York Times has seen the new BBC America series Robin Hood and declares it Tax Policy Decreed by Merry Men in Tights.