Posted by John Ester on Oct 31, 2017
Larry Winter is the Program Coordinator for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program in Northwestern Michigan.
Upon his retirement nine years ago after a 44-year engineering career, Larry became a volunteer for VITA, an IRS-sponsored program that offers free tax assistance to lower income people who need help for one reason or another.  Many VITA clients are senior citizens, and some of them are disabled. 
The focus of the VITA volunteers is to find credits for such things as child care, property tax payments and home heating. These credits may be available even if the clients have no taxes to pay.  For this reason (and to be sure that no one else tries to use the client's Social Security number) volunteers urge everyone to file a return, whether required to or not.
VITA is looking for volunteers--particularly in Cadillac but also in Traverse City and in Benzie County. Volunteers undergo 4-5 days of training and then are certified at a basic or advanced level. In the tax season they are expected to spend around 8 hours a week providing service. All of their returns are reviewed by other preparers. The next training session in Traverse City will begin on January 8, 2018. Both Larry and Sunrise member Dave Wynne spoke of the satisfaction they received from helping people who can't help themselves.