Class Report

Who Needs H&R Block? What Taxes Are, and How to Do Them Yourself

Teachers: Gabrielle Sims, graduate of Howard University’s accounting program and a volunteer event coordinator with One Brick; and Michelle Kuchinsky, left, volunteer tax preparer with Community Tax Aid and a business development organizer for Knowledge Commons DC
Location: West End Interim Library
Date: March 2, 2015

See more photos from this class on Flickr!

What was the take-home message of the class?
Have you done your taxes yet? Well, there are a ton of great, free resources out there for you to file them yourself. Your mom will be happy you did.

What was the most surprising thing you learned?
The first income tax in the U.S. was collected during the Civil War, to help pay war expenses.

What did you learn that you can put into practice immediately?
Michelle pointed out that people often make the mistake of calling themselves Head of Household if they don’t have dependents. This is wrong, but common!

Where can I find more information?
For free, in-person tax preparation for those with an adjusted gross income (AGI) below $35,000, see:
The free online tax software we used in class for AGI below $60,000:
Easy charts for tax volunteers:
For all other income tax details, visit:

Matty Greene is a native Austinite and passionate film producer/photographer. When she’s not making online videos for work — be it producing a video about manufacturing the American flag or filming fourth graders installing solar panels on their classroom roof — you can find her playing ukulele, working on 3D printing, or taking a Knowledge Commons DC class.