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Great Falls, MT

Contact Information

If you, your business, or organization are interested in becoming a part of the Disability Initiative Workgroup, please contact Margo Schurman of TaxHelp Montana at [email protected].

If you are already a member of the Disability Initiative Workgroup and have questions regarding the IRS participation, then please contact Wendi Castle at [email protected].

Disability Initiative Workgroup

Rural Dynamics Incorporated (RDI) created Tax Help Montana (THM) in 2004.  THM started operating VITA sites during the 2004 tax season, with two sites, one in a small community under 60,000 and one in a Native American community.  During this first year, THM served 195 individuals.  During the 2008 tax season the coalition expanded to 38 permanent sites and 24 tax clinics.  After the tax season, with information from the IRS suggesting a refund anticipation loan take up rate of over 70% in Native American communities, RDI was determined to expand VITA services across the State of Montana to both rural and Native communities.  Without the resources to directly serve these clients, RDI partnered with community organizations to assist in lowering RAL take up rates, saving tax preparation fees, and offering low and moderate income individuals access to financial services and products.  By partnering with organization in the community, THM was able to provide culturally sensitive products and services. For the 2009 tax season, site locations included five trade centers (population centers) for rural Montana, six Native communities, and 27 rural towns.  In addition, over 24 tax clinics, a limited time site, have been held in remote rural communities and at retirement homes and other places that cater to the elderly, disability and less mobile populations.  During the 2009 tax season, THM started a new initiative to assist individuals with disabilities in the state. Great Falls is home to the State School for Deaf and Blind and has a large hearing and sight impaired population. THM arranged tax clinics with organizations serving disability populations, such as Quality Life Concepts in Great Falls, and worked with case managers to gather information and assist clients with tax preparation.  Additionally, THM partnered with the National Disability Institute for help on the SPEC Disability Initiative.  In total, 460 individuals with disabilities were assisted during the tax year.

Plans for 2010

For the 2010 filing season we plan to enhance and expand services offered to persons with disabilities and their families.  In order to ensure we are successful in this effort THM has saught the help of Quality Life Concepts in Great Falls.  Already having a past relationship with this organization THM is expanding this and with their help determining the best and most efficient ways to serve our disabled population.  THM is expanding its tax site at Quality Life Concepts to better serve the people there.  THM is also looking to offer additional VITA sites at various locations in our effort to expand services to Montana's disabled population.  In addition to outreach with Quality Life Concepts, THM representatives met with IRS SPEC in September, 2009 to become a part of this next tax season's disability initiative.  The coalition's approach starts with establishing a VITA site in an area, and then linking other educational and saving products and services to our clients through our sites.

2010 Events
January 19 - REI Tour Workgroup Meeting