A Publication of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland
Catholic Voice Online Edition
Front Page In this Issue Around the Diocese Forum News in Brief Calendar Commentary
   
Mission Statement
Contact Us
advertise
Circulation
Publication Dates
Back Issues


Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland



Movie Reviews

Mass Times



Web
Catholic Voice
placeholder
articles list
placeholder Youth retreat
focuses on
developing
'spirituality of
the evangelist'

'Global pandemic'
of persecution
against Christians
going unnoticed

New president
named for
Carondelet
High School

Pope seeks to find ways to help the
poor out of poverty

Free medical clinic
in Pittsburg
celebrates
third anniversary

A 'three-peat'
for St. Leander
8th-grade
volleyball

SPRED fundraiser
will be May 10

'The Lenten
Journey' mission
at Our Lady
of the Rosary

Parishes offer
Lenten events

St. Patrick's
students give back
to Rodeo

A different way
to assist the poor
completing
their taxes

New president
rector appointed
to seminary

Vatican, Rome gear
up for canonizations

Residents tell
their life story
at Mercy Center

Giving a life
to those who care
for others

Senior events
calendar

Five financial risks
to consider
in retirement

Shared decisions:
How to be a co-pilot
with your doctor

placeholder
placeholder March 24, 2014   •   VOL. 52, NO. 6   •   Oakland, CA
A different way to assist the poor
— completing their taxes

For a few Catholics who are good with numbers, Christ's exhortation to help the poor is carried out in a very different way.

Rather than helping poor people in a soup kitchen or homeless shelter, they help the poor by preparing their tax returns.

The poor "need help with taxes more than anyone else," said Richard Vincent, an accountant who spends each Sunday afternoon at St. Peter Martyr parish in Pittsburg preparing tax returns for the poor. He is a member of Santa Maria parish in Orinda.

"There is a huge need," said Ed Beatson, who is a volunteer tax counselor at the Concord Library. "It is very difficult for the low-income, particularly immigrants, and especially the self-employed. They get forms but don't know what to do with them." He is a member of St. Monica parish in Moraga.

Walt Hubrig volunteers in another Concord tax center focused on the elderly poor. "I get a lot of satisfaction because I am helping people with something I know. It is giving back to the people." He is a member of St. Agnes parish in Concord.

Helping the poor with their taxes is an uncommon Christian ministry, yet it serves people through the same focus as more conventional charities — helping those in need.

Many are immigrants with limited English skills and low incomes, such as gardeners.

"I've learned to be patient," Beatson said. "We need to draw people out — and let them know immediately that we are not with Immigration (INS)!"

"An irony in our tax system," said Beatson, "is that you might be here illegally, but the IRS still expects you to pay taxes on your income."

Beatson and Hubrig both have been helping the poor file tax returns for several decades through a national AARP program.

Vincent began his outreach to the poor this year simply by calling the pastor of the predominantly low-income Hispanic parish and offering his services. Now through mid-April he spends Sunday afternoons helping the poor meet their legal obligations, and sometimes getting them refunds.

After finishing this year's returns for one large family — father, mother, three grown sons and two spouses — who work for landscaping companies, Vincent looked at their tax returns from previous years. He found they had not deducted legitimate expenses, so he prepared amended returns and got them more than $1,500 in rebates from previous years.

For giving up his single day off during the busy tax season, Vincent smiled and said "that did feel great!"

 
back to topup arrow

home

 
Copyright © 2014 The Catholic Voice, All Rights Reserved. Site design by Sarah Kalmon-Bauer.