MU Extension program provides financial education and service to Missourians
Aug. 02, 2010
Nathan Hurst, email@example.com, 573-882-6217
COLUMBIA, Mo. — Faculty and staff from the University of Missouri Extension and the MU Department of Personal Financial Planning in the College of Human Environmental Sciences are celebrating a highly successful year of financial education and tax return assistance through their program, the Missouri Taxpayer Education (MoTax) initiative. During the 2009 tax year, MoTax achieved impressive numbers for its tax return assistance. MoTax volunteers filed more than 3,600 tax returns for Missourians. This assistance helped participating Missourians receive nearly $4.3 million in tax refunds.
Andrew Zumwalt, an associate state specialist and MoTax coordinator, said the program helps Missourians in many ways.
“MoTax provides a gateway for financial education for Missourians,” Zumwalt said. “By providing tax return assistance and bringing money back into the community, we can open the door to educate Missourians and create practical applications for the academic work here at MU.”
Zumwalt explained that Extension personnel have an opportunity to educate Missourians further when reviewing their financial records. He believes this creates an important trust to develop between Missourians and Extension personnel.
“We get a chance to look through client information, help them with their taxes and tell them what items have no impact,” Zumwalt said. “Sometimes, we build enough trust with clients so that they actually ask us questions regarding their student loans, credit cards, retirement and taxes.”
Marilyn Preston, a single mother, has taken advantage of the MoTax program for three years. She said the MU Extension service has been invaluable to her.
“I find the support they offer in understanding and working through the complex rules of the tax code to be priceless,” Preston said. “MoTax gives me personal attention that allows me to feel comfortable asking questions about my taxes. Without MoTax, I would have to either file by myself, potentially missing important tax breaks and credits, or rely on a service that could charge excessive fees. I know that the service they provide helps many people all over the state, and I am glad to be a recipient of the program.”
Zumwalt hopes the MoTax initiative can serve to introduce many Missourians to other programs offered by the University of Missouri Extension.
“Through the MoTax effort, we are reaching out to people that Extension wouldn’t have contacted otherwise,” Zumwalt said.
The MoTax initiative is available in several counties throughout the state. For more information about the program, visit the website at: http://extension.missouri.edu/hes/taxed/