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TMCNet:  AARP Tax Aid back again

[February 08, 2013]

AARP Tax Aid back again

Feb 07, 2013 (News-Democrat & Leader - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Tax season is here, and if you're looking for a little extra help in filing this year, you may want to consider utilizing AARP Tax Aide, which will be set up this Wednesday at First Presbyterian Church on 6th Street.
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"We provide tax assistant and answer questions for low- to middle-income taxpayers, with special emphasis on those over 60," said Charlie Owen, district coordinator for AARP Tax Aide. "But we don't discriminate against anybody." Tax consultants will be on hand from 9 a.m. till 1 p.m. each Wednesday between now and the middle of April at the church.

The final date for tax help will be on April 10.

The service is free -- but it is somewhat limited.

Owen said the tax consultants will be happy to help in any of the areas they are trained for. Many of those areas are tailored for older taxpayers.

"It sometimes gets a little more complicated with retirees and pensions and that sort of thing," Owen said.

Owen said some tax forms involving farms and rental property fall outside the bounds of AARP Tax Aide training.

"We were in the library and I think we just sort of got in their way," Owen said. "So then the church was kind enough to let us start doing it there." There are similar services offered in Bowling Green and Glasgow.

If you plan on coming by for help, make sure to bring all your printed tax documents and social security cards.

And while it's a bit too late for this year, Owen said if anyone would like to volunteer to help in upcoming years, he would love to hear from them.

"If anybody in that area would like to volunteer, with basic computer skills and a little bit of interest in taxes, we would love to have them help out," Owen said. "We have plenty of volunteers in Bowling Green, but not so may down there in Russellville." Since 1968, Tax-Aide volunteers have helped nearly 50 million low- to moderate-income taxpayers, many of whom are aged 60 or older.

It all began with a chance discussion between an AARP executive and an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employee, both of whom were naval reservists. During a weekend drill, the IRS agent expressed concern to fellow reservist Bernie Nash -- the Association's executive director at the time -- about older tax filers. The tax expert said older people sometimes made mathematical mistakes, used the wrong forms or failed to take credits to which they were entitled. Bernie asked whether the IRS could provide training if AARP recruited volunteers to help others file their taxes.

Nash reported the discussion at the office the following week. He learned that four participants from AARP's adult education program -- the Institute of Lifetime Learning -- were already volunteering time to help some of their fellow students complete their taxes. Within a year, the AARP Board of Directors had reached a formal agreement with the IRS. The Tax-Aide Program was an immediate success and grew steadily as more volunteers got training and word of the free tax-preparation assistance spread.

From its modest start with four volunteers, Tax-Aide has grown to become the nation's largest free, volunteer-run tax preparation and assistance program. More than 35,000 AARP Tax-Aide volunteers, trained in cooperation with the Internal Revenue Service and help more than 2.6 million taxpayers file their federal, state, and local tax returns each year. The AARP Tax-Aide program is offered at approximately 6,500 locations nationwide in senior centers, libraries, community centers, and at other convenient locations across the country.

Tax-Aide volunteers are trained to assist with filing the 1040 Form and the more standard of the schedules, including Schedules A and B. Electronic filing (e-filing) is offered at most sites, with no charge to the taxpayer. E-filing ensures more accurate tax returns and faster processing of tax refunds. And, the free, year-round assistance Tax-Aide offers via the Web allows taxpayers to pose questions to online volunteers 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

___ (c)2013 the News-Democrat & Leader (Russellville, Ky.) Visit the News-Democrat & Leader (Russellville, Ky.) at www.newsdemocratleader.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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