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CACD's Vita Tax Program May Be IRS Target

Danbury's City Council decided to investigate financial issues at the Community Action Committee of Danbury (CACD) and IRS agents visited city non-profits to ask about CACD's tax preparation service.

Rumors about an IRS investigation surfaced in Danbury Wednesday, and the Hispanic Center of Greater Danbury was visited by one IRS agent looking for information about CACD's Vita program.

This is the third state or federal agency with financial concerns about how CACD handles its money. One state agency raised questions about the fuel assistance program, and one federal agency issued a 2011 OIG report that raised questions about how CACD accounted for federal stimulas money. On Wednesday, IRS agents started asking about CACD's tax preparation service. Calls to the IRS Wednesday night were not returned.

"I was visited," said Ingrid Alvarez-DiMarzo, executive director of the Hispanic Center of Greater Danbury. "They wanted to know what I knew or suspected about people being charged for the tax preparation service."

Every year, the IRS opens VITA centers across the country to help people earning $50,000 or less do their tax returns for free. CACD is one of the agencies that offered that service in Danbury.

CACD Board Chairman Glenda Armstrong said Thursday night in the City Hall parking lot the state agency with the oil questions was satisfied with CACD at this time. She declined to discuss the isssue further, and directed questions to her attorney.

As the question of the IRS arose in Danbury, the City Council decided to look at CACD's financial management issues.

During Thursday's City Council meeting, Yvette Stokes, the former finance director at CACD, said she was blamed for financial mismanagement at CACD, and she was being made the scapegoat. She said she was fired within the last two weeks by CACD in what she said was an attempt to sweep problems at the agency under the carpet. Stokes worked for CACD for about 20 years.

The details of state and federal issues with CACD's financial management are as follows. The state Department of Social Services had claimed in 2011 CACD mismanaged oil relief funds for low income families. The state agency asked CACD to better train its employees.

Also in 2011, an Office of the Inspector General audit for the federal Department of Health & Human Services said, "...significant operating deficiencies existed at CACD that impact its ability to manage and account for Federal funds and its capability to carry out the CSBG Recovery Act program in compliance with Federal requirements."

The City Council appointed a subcommittee called an Ad Hoc to investigate CACD's problems.

Marc Kuffler October 05, 2012 at 03:16 PM
Let's hope that these folks didn't screw up Vita. It's one of the best public service things we can do for low income people (including families) here in Danbury and around the country.

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