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Kennedy: Success in getting question answered and COVID-19 vaccine, not so much in terms of free tax prep | COMMENTARY

Yahoo! Hallelujah! Finally some answers. After a couple of more emails and phone calls, I was able to speak with someone from the agency that handles the Homeowners Tax Credits. The answer to my simple question is ... federal stimulus money need not be included as income on the application.

Once I was able to speak with a person, that answer took less than 30 seconds. Why did no one reply to my emails, which was the preferred method for contacting that agency, sometime in the month or more that I was seeking an answer? That question goes out to our delegation in Annapolis as well. I emailed them with my question and got no answer from them, either. I wonder if they check out your party affiliation before answering questions from constituents?

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Another success is that exactly one week ago I received my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. My second dose is to be given in about three weeks. As I’ve reported before, there were several friends and friends of friends doing their darnedest to find an appointment for me while I was doing the same for myself. In a stroke of luck, out of the blue, one friend awoke to take care of nature’s call at 1 a.m. and decided to check out one website. Lo and behold, they were just finishing the download for appointments and my friend was able to secure a spot for me. I’m grateful for all of those who were looking out for me, but it shouldn’t have taken a stroke of good fortune to score a dose and it shouldn’t be necessary for someone to be logged on in the middle of the night either.

After all of the jumping through hoops and group effort to get the appointment, the process for actually getting the shot in the arm was quick and easy, at least through the Walgreens in Westminster where I was registered. Simply check in, wait your turn, get the shot, wait 15 minutes to see if there is a negative reaction, and head on home. My upper arm was a bit sore for about a day but nothing more.

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With more and more vaccine becoming available — supposedly — those who haven’t been able to score an appointment as yet just need to keep trying, and get some of those who already have been vaccinated to help. Group efforts are better than trying to stay on the computer for hours on end yourself.

I’m still trying to find a free tax prep agency and location. The one supported by the county and staffed by VITA  volunteers is no longer scheduling appointments and are fully scheduled through April 15. The Tax-Aide program, that in previous years was available at the senior centers and sponsored by AARP, was mentioned in an article in the Times last week but the article contained no contact information so I’m still looking. My prep is pretty simple, and I may not even be required to file any returns, but I’m not confident in my knowledge of the most recent tax law changes so any help would be much appreciated. Email me at the address below if you have any information.

On a vastly different subject, It’s time for March Madness and I have one gripe about how the games  are scheduled and have had for years since they added the four play-in games. I’m of the opinion that no team that won it’s conference championship tournament to get in to “the Big Dance” should have to participate in the “First Four” play-in games, especially if they represent a “one bid” conference, like Mount St. Mary’s of the NEC. Those play-in spots should be reserved for at-large teams, regardless of seeding.

Bill Kennedy writes every other week from Taneytown. You may contact him at wlkennedyiii@verizon.net.

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