The Karki family immigrated to Spokane six years ago to start a new life after twenty years as refugees in Nepal. Originally from Bhutan, the four Karki Brothers and their families saw Spokane as a big city filled with new opportunity.

They arrived in the Lilac City with children in tow. Their children had only known life in Nepal, and the brothers worked hard but soon realized they had no way of filing their taxes in a foreign language. Early in their first year in Spokane, one of the brothers heard about the tax services offered at the Spokane County United Way. Soon after, the entire family started bringing their W-2s to the United Way tax site to get free help with their taxes.

“We don’t have too much education about these things… It’s not too far and we can make an appointment anytime. What we need, we are getting from here.”

One Karki brother, Jhat, works hard to support his family, and spent three and a half years working at K-L Manufacturing Company on Ruby Street. Long hours of sitting became exhausting for Jhat, so he took a job on his feet at Rockwood Retirement Center on the South Hill. Jhat loves his new job because he gets to interact with the residents and retirees

In 2015, just four years after settling in the United States, Jhat and his brother Padam were both able to purchase homes just a few blocks from each other. Their kids now have only a three minute walk to school, and the families get to visit each other almost every day.

Jhat said his motivation to get up each morning is to get to work early, but today he is excited to be receiving the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit. He plans to use his refund to begin refurnishing his home and covering expenses associated with being a homeowner.

When asked how he thinks other people might describe him and his family, Jhat answered, “We are good, we are friendly,” and began to describe the culture of the people he meets in Spokane. “Everybody is friendly here. Everybody says, hi, hello, everyone walking is always smiling… I feel so good.”

Jhat and his brothers are just one example of the ripple effects created by the free tax preparation at the Spokane County United Way each spring. The EITC and CTC create a culture that rewards hard work, and the Karki family has worked hard to stay together.

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