Every dollar counts and Rita Pinard works to help people in her western Oregon community hang on to as much of their hard-earned income as possible.
“I know taxes can be complicated and frustrating, especially as people get older and rules become increasingly complex,” says Rita Pinard. “We help working people that may be paying taxes that they shouldn’t pay, helping those that might miss opportunities to save money.”
Rita is the regional coordinator for the TaxAide program in Linn and Benton counties. TaxAide helps prepare and e-file federal and state taxes at no cost to the client. In an area that is “severely distressed,” services are in great demand particularly among the elderly, single parents, students and the underemployed.
The TaxAide program was responsible for bringing $1,548,452 of earned income and child, student and elderly tax credits back into the pockets of hard-working people in 2009. As the TaxAide regional coordinator for an area that is physically 50% larger than the entire state of Delaware, Rita’s work extends beyond tax season.
Year round she is busy recruiting volunteers, coordinating training and promoting the program. She supports the volunteers and their efforts at eight separate service locations providing both locational logistics and quality assurance. Under Rita’s leadership TaxAide has added two new service locations and grown the number of volunteers by 50% over the past three years. The program currently has 55 counseling volunteers and 19 client facilitators.
“It’s the rent I pay for taking up space on the earth,” Rita said of her service to the Oregon community. “We’re here to help people… [that] have been hit hard by business closures.”