This week, the Rotary Club of Sierra Vista heard from Jean Tomlin, a volunteer with the IRS-sponsored Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (“VITA”) program. The VITA program offers free tax help to people who generally make $54,000 or less, persons with disabilities and limited English speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals.
In addition to VITA, the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program offers free tax help for all taxpayers, particularly those who are 60 years of age and older, specializing in questions about pensions and retirement-related issues unique to seniors. The IRS-certified volunteers who provide tax counseling are often retired individuals associated with non-profit organizations that receive grants from the IRS. Last year, over 90,000 volunteers assisted with the preparation and filing of 3.7 million tax returns. VITA has locations in all 50 states, with four Cochise County locations - two in Sierra Vista, one in Tombstone and one in Douglas. In Cochise County, VITA prepared and filed nearly 1700 tax returns this year.
Volunteers are expected to maintain the highest standards and are required to participate in ethics training. Volunteers must also take annual training and pass rigid certification exams. To ensure accuracy, after a return has been prepared, a second VITA volunteer will review the return before filing.
For more information about the VITA program, please visit
This week Anne Gibson of Cochise Oncology used the Exempt Badge to provide an update about the business. Anne informed Rotarians that Cochise Oncology had recently hired Dr. Lincoln Pao as its new radiation oncologist. Dr. Pao has been practicing medicine for nearly 30 years and is happy to join Cochise Oncology’s team. This year Cochise Oncology will be celebrating its 10th anniversary in Sierra Vista and will host an anniversary celebration on September 4th.