At the North Georgia Low Income Tax Clinic, we have made it our mission to help families and individuals overcome financial hardship and achieve independence. Since 2019 we have assisted more than 130 people from across the state of Georgia in their journeys to make this mission a reality. Some of these amazing people have given us permission to share their stories. Our clients’ names have been omitted to preserve their privacy.

Anna was living a normal life. She lived in the suburbs just south of Atlanta and had a steady job in a restaurant. She used her work to fund and support her passion for photography. She had just moved in with her long-term boyfriend and was helping to care for his son. And then, she made a mistake on her taxes.

Anna didn’t know about the error in her taxes for years. She moved to a different address before the IRS notified her, so she didn’t receive the letters that they sent. A few years later, Anna fell into difficult financial circumstances and made some bad decisions. She was arrested for burglary and sentenced to two years in prison.

When Anna was released from incarceration, she was able to begin working for an employer she had been matched with through a prison work-release program. When she filed her taxes, she received a notice from the IRS informing her that her refund had been frozen and that she owed a substantial amount of delinquent taxes and penalties of over $3,000.

Anna found herself in a difficult and precarious situation. The tax debt and the seizure of her refund took her by surprise. She had only just started a new job after being released from prison, and she didn’t have any savings. She also didn’t have a substantial network of support that she could lean on to cover a debt of that size. It didn’t seem like she had any good options. Anna felt stressed, anxious, and disoriented – IRS notices are generally difficult to read and packed with jargon, so she understood that she owed money, but not what to do about it

After searching for help, a friend referred Anna to the North Georgia LITC.  Like so many of our clients, all Anna needed was a willing ear and a clear plan of action to address these issues effectively.

After working with Anna and the IRS, we were able to help her resolve her full outstanding liability for just $100. Being free of her tax debt strengthened Anna’s financial circumstances. Since then, she has been able to move to a new job with higher pay and rekindle her love of photography. She pays her taxes on time and has been able to settle back into normal life.