Sarah Candelaria New Mexico 0

NM Gross Income Taxes- Giving back to the community?

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*** I have sent the letter below to our Governor and our NM Senate to spark a conversation about the gross income tax laws and how they are affecting my family! Please sign the peition so I can bring a stronger case to the table in trying to have the guidelines changes for anyone in my line of work!

To Whom It May Concern:

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter and hopefully understanding and supporting the endeavors that I have dedicated my life and family to. I’d like to start off by sharing what it is that I do and why I have taken such a passion in helping to bridge the gap of international acceptance in New Mexico and throughout the U.S. Helping to develop public diplomacy, in New Mexico, by supporting the Department of State J1 VISA program our state has welcomed over 150 students into our public school system in the last 6 years.

I work for a nonprofit organization; Education, Travel & Culture based out of Portland Oregon. We are an organization that strives to provide successful and enriching experiences for students traveling abroad into the United States with the hopes that it will create a bond and forever lasting positive memories for them with their volunteer host family, state, city, school, and neighborhood that has welcomed them as an exchange student.

The long term goal is to bridge the gap of international acceptance throughout our country and countries throughout the world. One successful experience here in the United States (New Mexico) allows these students to go home and speak highly, positively, and happily about the United States. My hope, in my work, would be to know that I have helped to create connections with people around the world that will, in time, help with the misunderstanding and misconceptions that are heard all too often in regards to cultures and religions that we simply just don’t understand or haven’t been exposed to.

I have been doing this “job” for six years as an independent contractor. Spending my weekends manning booths, with my own 3 small kids, all over New Mexico to seek out these voluntarily host families that would be willing to accept a teen into their home that they have never met- for an entire school year! I spend hours each day supporting these students and families while they take this adventure. Phone calls at all hours of the night, days in the hospital with sick students (they don’t live in bubbles while they are here), being an outreach for my host families as their families grow and change by having a student in their home. I meet with counselors, principals, district office employees in the school districts we place in- all to ensure that a successful integration is happening and to reassure everyone that I am here if anything should be needed- all in the name of public diplomacy.

On a personal note, my family has voluntarily hosted students in our home for the last 6 years as well. We started hosting when our oldest was 5 years old and our youngest was only 6 months. We have opened our home and family to our Korea daughter (Youngbin), our German son (Jan) and daughter (Kirstin), our Japanese son (Hiroki), our French son (Mathis), and our two Swedish daughters Naima and currently Ebba. In that time we have had another child of our own and been able to save and move into a new house, which makes it more comfortable to be a family of 6. Another aspect of this job that is dear to my heart is the fact that I am able to do this job from home so that I can actively be part of my children’s lives and be there for them while they grow and learn about the world around them.

I started as a local coordinator with ETC 6 years ago while I was concurrently working for UNM as a PreK consultant - at that time we only had 3 students in New Mexico (all of which have come back to visit multiples times because they loved their experience so much). I have now grown a team in New Mexico- of previous and current host mom’s that now share the passion to help find other voluntary host families in New Mexico that can help with providing more students with this amazing experience and this is now my full time job from home. Host moms, teammates, and now what I consider friends and family surround me in my life and daily endeavors through this, often times thankless job. We have truly created a community within a community and an amazing support system in New Mexico for our voluntary host families and our J1 VISA students.

Now, why am I writing this letter to you, you might ask? A month ago I got a letter for the New Mexico Taxation Department stating that because I get paid on a 1099 and I am an independent contractor for ETC I have to pay the gross receipt tax in NM. I was never aware that I was required to pay this therefore I have accrued thousands of dollars in penalties and back taxes from 2010- 2016. With that being said our family hired a Certified Public Accountant in the city of Albuquerque to file our taxes dating back to 2010 (later for my husband) and he neglected to inform us about any of the gross receipt tax laws but has kept my family current and up to date on all federal and state taxes- we owe nothing and have paid every year for my income as I do not have taxes taken out all year long.

I am an independent contractor for a nonprofit- who because they are nonprofit don’t have to pay gross receipt tax. I am not selling Mary Kay, I am not having Tupperware parties, and I am not marketing for today’s biggest weight loss fad (although I support and am proud of the ladies that I know that do those lines of work). I am providing my services to better our nation, to create a worldwide better understanding of cultures and religions and technically I am providing services for the Department of State’s J1 VISA program via Education, Travel & Culture.

I am writing this letter with the hopes that an exemption can be made in the case of my back gross receipt taxes bill and any further gross receipt taxes that may be charged as I work for ETC for years to come. It is my understanding that everyone in the state of NM that is paid on a 1099 is subject to pay the NM gross receipt taxes, no matter the services rendered or products sold. To me, this doesn’t seem quite right when the services that I am rendering are directly related to the public diplomacy of the United States of America and surely directly related to the public diplomacy of the state of New Mexico.

I am hoping to make everyone aware that there seems to be a flaw in the gross receipt tax law in New Mexico and reaching out with the hopes that a change can be made for me and for those that do work like me, I would hate to see my teammates, family, or friends (whatever you choose to call them) subject to this tax as well for providing enriching and diplomatic services in their communities.

I would love to answer any questions or concerns that you might have in regards to the information that I have provided in this letter [including in depth info regarding my gross receipt tax bill]. If there are steps that can be taken to resolve this issue, I’d love to be a part in making them happen. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and learn about what I do “for a living” and why it is important to me and my family.

Warm Regards,

Sarah Candelaria

Sr. Field Manager

Education, Travel & Culture


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