Taxing Times: Keisha and the Tax Clinic

Going into the last tax season, Keisha, a hardworking single mom to three kids, almost didn’t file her taxes. She missed filing one year and for the next few years felt a sense of dread about filing. When she would think about her taxes, a nagging voice kept suggesting, What’s the point anyway? Why file when the government will just take even more of your hard-earned money? But deep down, she knew it was a problem she needed to confront, so she went looking for an expert to help. Tax Clinic to the rescue!

The Search for Help

After the shock of learning the cost to have her taxes filed at the big companies, things were off to a rough start. Keisha knew she couldn’t quit though; she needed to do this for her family. One of her kids was preparing for college, and Keisha knew her child would need to provide tax information.

Keisha had heard of our Tax Clinic but had never considered it an option for her. “I looked at a few different services, but they cost way too much,” she recounts. “So I called Teffany and asked what to do.” Teffany Henderson runs the TAP Tax Clinic. She works with our volunteer tax preparers to make sure clients receive the best services possible. She also works with the IRS to ensure the Tax Clinic meets all the latest guidelines and rules. If anyone would know where to start, she would.

Lending a Hand

Keisha was unsure about discussing her financial records with strangers, but Teffany helped put her mind at ease. “Teffany was super warm and gave me some great advice,” Keisha remembers. After reviewing her finances, Teffany knew Keisha was eligible for our services and helped her set up an appointment.

Keisha describes feeling a sense of relief at the combination of good, professional advice and the warmth of those she spoke with. “On the phone, I talked with another woman whose voice was just so kind that I was immediately comfortable giving them [my tax information] and dropping off my paperwork,” she says. And when Keisha explained that she felt she’d gotten into a mess with her taxes, the volunteer said, “Bring everything in, and we’ll take a look—and if we can’t help you, we won’t leave you high and dry. We’ll make sure to find someone who can.”

Back On Track

After filing her taxes for the year, volunteers helped Keisha file her back taxes too. As it turns out, Keisha didn’t owe money; the government owed her! Surprised, Keisha got a return on her back taxes. “I came out on top after [the Tax Clinic] did everything. I was able to get back on track.”

This tax season, anyone doing a simple return whose total filing income is $60,000 or less, or those who qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit, can file for free through our Tax Clinic. (We can’t file for those with 1099s or freelance returns, or digital assets, like Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, or electronic payments, like Cash App or Venmo, in excess of $600.) And, as we promised Keisha, if we can’t help, we’ll find someone who can.

Find Out More About the Tax Clinic

To make an appointment to get your taxes done or to see if you’re eligible, contact the Tax Clinic hotline at (540) 283-4804 or email us at For more information, check out our Free Tax Clinic page.