Tax season is here and in full swing. The deadline to file your 2015 tax return is Monday, April 18, 2016. Washington D.C. will celebrate Emancipation Day on the traditional April 15 due date, which pushes the deadline to the following Monday. Here are a few tips to make this year's tax season go as smoothly as possible.
Esther is a Tax Manager at Lauterbach, Borschow & Company, P.C. and is an adjunct lecturer teaching Individual Federal Taxation at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). She has practiced in public accounting for 10 years where she has worked with closely-held/family businesses and individual taxpayers. Esther graduated from UTEP with a Master’s degree in Accountancy and a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting. She is a Certified Public Accountant licensed to practice in Texas.
Meet Erika Roman, a 2014 recipient of the Women’s Fund of El Paso scholarship. Erika currently works for Las Palmas Medical Center as a Certified Hyperbaric Tech and a Registered Medical Assistant. Her goal is to obtain her bachelor’s degree in nursing and begin her career as a nurse in the same hospital.
“I work for Las Palmas already, so it would be easy for me to transition into the nursing department on any floor (of the hospital),” she said. As a single mother, her biggest accomplishment thus far has been seeing her two older children prevail in their studies and careers despite coming from a divorced family.
One of her sons also attends El Paso Community College and is studying to be a physical therapist. Her other son recently enlisted in the United States Navy. “I am a single parent and having these boys come out on top when coming from a divorced family is a big accomplishment,” she said.
She counts her mother as her biggest influence in working hard for not only herself but also her family. “When I was 15, my mother and father got divorced. She worked full-time and raised her three daughters as best as she could while battling alcoholism. I learned to be a hard worker from her and I thank her every day for what she has shown me”.
Coming from a single-parent household herself and navigating the difficult path of raising a family on her own, Erika has continued to persevere in her quest to improve her family’s future through education. “The scholarship from the Women’s Fund benefitted me by helping me get books and helping with bills at home so that I would not fall behind while attending school,” she said. “I thank the Women’s Fund for helping me and others to accomplish our goals.”
Since its inception, the Women’s Fund of El Paso has awarded 145 college scholarships to local women in our community. To find out how you can help provide these scholarships to women in need, click HERE.
Responding to a study showing that 53 percent of households headed by women in El Paso were living in poverty, a group of 80 women leaders from organizations throughout the county gathered last fall to discuss what could be done.
The gathering at the El Paso Community Foundation was the first installment of the El Paso Women’s Economic Summit. The goal of the summit was to bring women leaders together to identify local resources available to women to help boost their economic status. An Oct. 16 article in the El Paso Times reported a consensus among the attendees that they should continue to work together to fill in missing gaps.
"A lot of people (in the groups) didn't know what other agencies are doing. We have to get the word out and break down the silos of knowledge and bring other voices to this powerful work," Deborah Zuloaga, CEO of United Way of El Paso County, told the group, according to the Times.
Based on a 2014 report by the Texas Women’s Foundation titled “Economic Issues for Women in Texas” along with another study conducted 10 years ago by the El Paso YWCA and the University of Texas at El Paso, it was determined that little has improved for women economically in this community. “In the El Paso metro area, 32% of households are female-headed yet they represent 53% of households living in poverty,” the 2014 report stated. For a single parent with two children, poverty is defined as living on less than $18,769 in per year
The report also found full-time working women in the El Paso metro area have median earnings of $27,489 a year, one of the lowest earnings among the state’s metro areas and almost $8,000 lower than the state median for women.
The Texas Women’s Foundation identified four building blocks for economic security for women in El Paso:
Azuri Gonzalez, Women’s Fund of El Paso President, states that the next step for the Women’s Economic Summit is to analyze the feedback from the gathering and reconvene in February to form working groups. These groups will work together to develop solutions to some of the challenges presented in order to further identify and provide increased resources to local women.