Mvskoke Loan Fund, CMN partner for 2nd year offering tax preparation
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma — The Muscogee (Creek) Nation Mvskoke Loan Fund began helping citizens with their taxes in 2018.
MLF Chief Executive Officer Chris Coburn said they had a great turnout last year, so it was imperative they do it again.
“This is our second year of doing VITA, which is ‘Volunteers in Tax Assistance,’” he said.
Coburn said this is the first year the MLF’s focus in on the elderly. They were able to get the ‘Tax Counseling for the Elderly’ grant for this tax season.
Last year, Coburn said MLF helped 205 people with their taxes.
“How we define help is did we answer questions with their returns and the economic impact to our community,” he said.
Coburn said for this tax season, the MLF is partnering with the College of Muscogee Nation. They will have interns from one of the CMN programs to help and understand what goes on in helping people do their taxes.
“If they complete enough hours over the tax season, we can give them a $250 completion stipend,” he said.
He said he wanted the interns to get work experience as well as an interest in finance and accounting.
“Plus it will really stretch their customer service skills,” Coburn said.
Coburn said the reviews from last year’s tax season were positive. He said the main response to it was they hoped MLF was going to do it again.
“We had a few negatives because we had people that wanted us to do what was allowed in the past but was actually wrong,” he said.
Coburn said ultimately, they have to hold themselves accountable, honest and have integrity.
“The client is responsible for what is there,” he said.
This year, Coburn said MLF wants to serve twice as many as what they did last year. They want to have four to five outreach days at senior communities.
“We are going to be working with CR&D [Community Research and Development] to set those up,” he said.
Coburn said the only main guideline people need to stick to is the total household gross income, which needs to be $54,000 or less.
“If they’re Native, great,” he said. “It shows that we are serving our community.”
He said it is an Internal Revenue Service grant, which means he can serve both Native and non-Native.
For more information on VITA or TCE, call: 918-549-2603.