Public Health Department
When she was struggling to make ends meet, Wilma Haymon learned about free tax preparation programs that took the dread out of the annual tax season and helped provide a significant boost to her pocketbook as well. Years later, when she learned that her employer, Alameda County, offered such a program to low- and moderate-income residents in the area, she seized the opportunity to support the program as a volunteer.
“There was a time when I was in those people’s shoes – I was unemployed and didn’t have money to get my taxes done,” she says. “I found a free tax preparation service and it really helped me. So I know first-hand that this is a great way to give back and to support people in our community.”
Wilma is a longtime volunteer with the Alameda County Social Services Agency’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, which provides no cost tax preparation assistance to low- and moderate-income taxpayers every year.
She started a decade ago, learning the ropes as a tax preparer. She gradually worked her way up the ladder and now serves as a transmitter – the person who does the final review of VITA-prepared tax returns and transmits them to the State Franchise Tax Board and federal Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Wilma says the best part of volunteering with VITA is “when you see the light going off with the client, when they realize how much of a refund they’re getting and it’s not costing them anything.”
She strongly encourages other County employees to get involved by volunteering with VITA. Contact the program at email@example.com.