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Not a supporter of the city contracting RITA

To the editor:

I read with great interest the story in the Salem News on Sept. 4 about the city looking at the possibility of contracting with RITA for local income tax collection.

I studied accounting at Youngstown State University and earned my bachelor’s in accounting. As a student I volunteered and continue to be a volunteer for the VITA program (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance). Several of our tax clients are residents in a RITA municipality.

Some of the taxpayers have commented while they can e-file, the customer service they have received has not been good. These individuals even live in the area to visit the local office.

However, how is it a service to the residents of Salem to have them drive 30 minutes to get help with their tax return or any questions they may have? I would be interested to know if the individuals who are in favor of RITA if they have taken a real hard look at the excellent service our tax department provides to the residents of Salem.

As I mentioned earlier in my letter that I am a volunteer at VITA at Youngstown State University. We see close to 600 tax payers from Feb. 1 through early April. Our clients are so appreciative of the personal service we give them with their federal, state and local tax returns. Many commented it is so much easier to get help “in person” than over the phone. And If you were to ask the residents of Salem, I am sure they would agree that receiving help “in person” is much better than over the phone.

There is also the issue that individuals would be out of a job. The individuals who are in favor of RITA, how would they feel if their job was on the line over $50K? But as our auditor, Betty Brothers, pointed out that the earned interest would have to be subtracted from the savings. So, in reality the savings will be much less. I am very disappointed that some of our elected officials believe RITA would be a good option. I believe that it shouldn’t always be about money. We need to think about not only the affect it will have on our taxpayers, but also the affect it will have on the employees of the tax office who do their best to give excellent tax service to the residents of Salem.

Doug Falk,

Salem

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