Center For Siouxland's FREE Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program

Thu, Feb 15th, 2018

Center For Siouxland's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers FREE tax help to people who 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. Schedulers in our office are now taking and returning calls for appointments.  For more information or to schedule an appointment call 712-252-1861 ext. 11.


Happy Valentine's Day to All Our Friends and Our Volunteers!

Wed, Feb 14th, 2018

Center For Siouxland loves our Volunteers! We'd like to wish all of our volunteers a Happy Valentine's Day and thank each and every one of them for all they do! VITA volunteers are currently busy assisting with taxes. If you would like to have one of them prepare and e-file your taxes for FREE call our office at 712-252-1861 ext. 11 to have a trained scheduler provide the information or appointment you need!  Pictured are just some of the many volunteers working at Center For Siouxland's office!




Money Monday - Happy Birthday Abraham Lincoln!

Mon, Feb 12th, 2018

Money Monday - Happy Birthday Abraham Lincoln!

February 12th marks 209 years since Abraham Lincoln was born in a log cabin in Kentucky. It’s hard to fathom how the world has changed since back then.  Here are some facts about how much influence Honest Abe has had on the history of our money.  On February 25, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed the National Banking Act (originally known as the National Currency Act), which for the first time in American history established the federal dollar as the sole currency of the United States.  Abraham Lincoln became the first US president to adorn a coin when he was put on the penny in 1909 on the 100th anniversary of his birth.  He was added to the five-dollar bill in 1914. The Lincoln penny was also the first to include the inscription, “In God We Trust.”  But aside from the Lincoln currency we’re all familiar with, Lincoln has been featured on many lesser-known U.S. currency as well. He’s featured on the 1863 Greenback $10 bill, the 1918 Illinois State Commemorative Half-Dollar Coin, the 2009 Commemorative Silver $1 Coin, in 2003 Illinois’ state quarter featured a portrait of the young Lincoln and in 2010, a $1 presidential coin with Lincoln’s likeness was issued. To this day, Lincoln remains the most popular president on our currency. 


Money Monday - What you Should Know About Debt Settlement

Mon, Feb 5th, 2018

Money Monday - What You Should Know About Debt Settlement

If you're struggling financially, you may have thought about making a debt settlement with your creditors, but is this a good option?  In this kind of agreement, a company promises to reduce your debt by offering your creditors settlements. It sounds promising but the results are often not what you expect them to be.

Here’s how the debt settlement process works.  When you sign up for a debt settlement service, you send monthly payments to the debt settlement company, but they do not forward your payments to your creditors. Instead, they hold your money in an account until you have enough money to offer a single creditor a settlement.  Depending on the size of your debts, it can take months for just one creditor to be offered a settlement.  Because your creditors are not being paid monthly, you go further delinquent. And because they are not receiving payments, your creditors will charge you late fees and interest, consequently raising your balance. In the meantime, your credit report is negatively impacted when you do not make monthly payments.  Once you have enough money to make a settlement, the debt settlement company pays one creditor. Even after this one creditor gets paid, however, you will still suffer the ripple effects of debt settlement. You will pay a fee to the debt settlement company to settle with a creditor, but then the IRS will tax you on the amount of forgiven debt. The payment will show up on your credit report as a settlement, which negatively influences your credit score.  And to make matters worse, your other creditors who have not received any payments may opt to sue you since you have not paid them. Also, your creditors do not have to agree to accept a settlement.  

On October 12, 2017, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) filed suit against two companies offering settlement services. The companies were operating under the name FDAA. The CFPB alleges that the companies violated the law by falsely promising to eliminate consumers’ debts and improve their credit scores. According to the CFPB, FDAA and it owners lied to financially vulnerable consumers. They deceived consumers about their affiliation with the federal government. They deceived consumers about the companies’ debt relief and credit repair abilities. They failed to make proper disclosures about not paying debts and they took illegal advance fees for their services.

In our experience it is rare that debt settlement services help consumers. If you are looking for reliable options to help reduce your financial stress you may want to contact a non-profit accredited credit counseling agency like Center For Siouxland's Consumer Credit Counseling department at 712-252-1861 ext. 47.


Money Monday - Bigger Paychecks Coming in February!

Sun, Feb 4th, 2018

Money Monday - Bigger Paychecks Coming in February!

Did you notice a little extra cash in your paycheck?  It wasn't a glitch, about 80 to 90 percent of people are getting a one to two percent bump in their take-home pay. Provided nothing changes in your work or tax status, you can count on these slightly larger amounts for the time being. It's all a result of the new tax bill and the revised withholding tables which employers had until February 15th to put into effect. 

So, if you're making $56k a year (roughly the median household income for the U.S), you could be seeing around an extra thousand a year in your take-home pay.  The money is spread out over the year in each check, so it probably won’t look like a lot as it comes in.

As of last fall the total household debt in this country topped $13 trillion, as many as 78 percent of us are living paycheck to paycheck. If you’re one of the many stuck in this cycle, you could use this extra money to pay down debts, build an emergency fund or add more to your 401(k) or other retirement plan.  Far too many taxpayers are skimping in these areas. 

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