VTLP was established in 1995 to help noncompliant commercial fisherman satisfy their IRS filing requirements. The President of ABDC, Gary Selk and the Director of the Alaska Division of Investments, Martin Richard, laid the foundation to help strengthen the rural economies and improve individual financial stability by tackling the noncompliance issue head on. Noncompliance created challenges for individual taxpayers with their personal financial situations and for commercial fishermen who were unable to obtain financing to upgrade their operation and maintain a competetive edge because they were not current with the IRS.
During the filing season of 1996, the first VTLP teams traveled to seven communities and assisted 185 taxpayers with the preparation of their current year tax returns, assisting them in becoming compliant with the IRS. Today the program assists 150 rural communities and generates in excess of $8 million in refunds.
Through the years the program expanded beyond commercial fishing communities, recognizing noncompliance issues spanned throughout rural communities. Additionally services also expanded beyond tax preparation. The program services were enhanced to include education on taxpayer rights and responsibilities and assist with other tax issues.
Thank you to all the volunteers that have donated thousands of hours of service and to the generous program contributors who have provided financial support, together making VTLP a success.