Success Stories

Patricia Grenier

Jun.20, 2024

Patricia first started using VITA for free tax preparation several years ago after seeing an ad in the local paper. She was surprised that it was free, run by people who know what they are doing, and she qualified to receive support.

Knowing she did not understand how to do her own taxes and wanting to work with someone in person, Patricia realized she had nothing to lose. She decided to give VITA a try and registered and set up her appointment online. It did not take long for her to know it was one of the best decisions she could have made.

Fixing Someone Else’s Mistake
Patricia’s job was eliminated. She met with a financial planner to explore her options for providing for herself during her unemployment. When it came time to file her taxes the following year, Patricia met with her IRS-certified VITA volunteer. It was then that she learned the financial planner had made a mistake and Patricia owed quite a bit in taxes.

Patricia was devastated by the news. “I was in shock,” she said. “But, I think they felt worse than I did that they couldn’t do anything about it.”

The VITA tax preparers tried everything they could think of to reduce the amount Patricia owed. They looked for additional deductions, asked about her history of charitable giving and more. While they weren’t able to eliminate the tax debt, they found options for Patricia to consider.

“It gave me such peace of mind knowing they had tried everything they could,” Patricia added. “It wasn’t their fault; it was someone else’s mistake and they tried to help me anyway.”

A Brighter Future
Today, that issue has been resolved and the debt has been paid. In the rearview mirror, it looks like just a little bump in the road. Patricia credits VITA for helping her navigate it all. She continues to work with VITA for her tax preparation every year, feeling safe and knowing that if there are any problems with her taxes the volunteers will address them right away and help her through it.

“I see a brighter future because I don’t have those taxes on my head anymore,” said Patricia. “It was tearing my heart out to receive the letters from the state and federal tax offices telling me I owed money.”

With a better outlook for her financial future, Patricia sees the light at the end of the tunnel. She is breathing a sigh of relief and hoping for a tax refund this year. Her possible plans include taking a trip to see a friend who recently moved away, treating her sister to a meal when she visits in the summer, and starting to save money again and have a rainy day fund.

“I’ll be able to do all these things because I trusted VITA to take care of me and do it right,” she said. “There was a way out, and they helped me find it. I have control again and it feels wonderful. I feel independent. I’m going to be okay.”

VITA gave Patricia an opportunity to be involved with her taxes and learn about the filing process. She has worked with a different VITA volunteer each year.

“They are all people persons,” she said. “They are jovial and personable and they make me feel so comfortable and they work together as a team supporting one another to double and triple check their work.”

Lessons Learned and Gratitude
Through her experience with VITA, Patricia has learned a couple of key lessons:

  • Keep track of donations, no matter how small, because they all add up; and,
  • Keep track of records all year round so they are in one place when it comes time to prepare for filing taxes the next year.

“Gratitude is definitely a word I would use,” Patricia concluded. “I want people to know they should use this service. They may be missing something. Why take the chance of misplacing a number?  Just have somebody reliable do it for you. It’s free. It’s local. There are openings. Take advantage. People are out there, and they want to help you.”