TAX Time Tune-up

Tax season is upon us. As a 6-year volunteer for the AARP Tax Aide program, I offer some information about our program and a helpful link from the “Your Money Advisor” section of the New York Times.

And this just in: 

The IRS has been working fast and hard to implement new tax policies that may assist those who suffered from losses due to the hurricanes in 2017. If you live in an area (or lived at the time–in case you moved) that was declared a federal disaster area, and you suffered economic losses for which you were not compensated, there may be some tax relief for you. Casualty Losses are out of scope for the Tax Aide program, but if you took money out of a 401K or IRA to cover damage or housing expenses or if you lost income from work, there may be options that can help you. See a tax counselor or go to IRS.gov for more information.

AARP Foundation Tax-Aide celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2018

Beginning February 1 and continuing through April 17, AARP Foundation is providing free tax assistance and preparation through its Tax-Aide program. AARP Foundation Tax-Aide, celebrating its 50th year, is the nation’s largest free tax assistance and preparation service. Over the last 50 years, we’ve helped more than 50 million taxpayers get the tax credits they deserve.

To find a Tax-Aide site or more information, including which documents to bring to the tax site, and a list of locations, visit aarpfoundation.org/taxaide.

 Here are a few highlights about Tax Aide:

  • While the program is especially geared to help low-income older taxpayers, all are welcome.
  • Some returns may be “out of scope” for our volunteers due to complex tax laws, or limitations within the software, or available training for Tax Aide counselors. Each site reserves the right to determine whether a return is within their abilities to file it. Tax Aide is funded in part by an IRS grant specifically for Efiling returns. The program does not prepare “sample or draft” returns or paper returns.
  • There’s no fee and no sales pitch, and AARP membership is not required.
  • Tax-Aide started in 1968 with four volunteers working at one site. Today, nearly 35,000 volunteers serve in almost 5,000 locations in neighborhood libraries, malls, banks, community centers and senior centers, in all 50 states and the District of Columbia from February 1 to mid-April.
  • Tax-Aide volunteers identify credits for taxpayers — $222 million in Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC) in 2017. Communities benefited from the $1.3 billion in refunds taxpayers gained in 2017. Taxpayers also avoided any tax preparation fees and pitches for high-interest tax credit or refund loans.
  • The program goes where community residents are; assistance is provided at community and neighborhood centers, libraries, schools and other convenient locations.
  • No matter the changes to tax codes or laws, Tax-Aide provides a trusted service.
  • Tax-Aide volunteers are trained and IRS-certified each year to ensure they know about and understand the latest changes and additions to the U.S. Tax Code.
  • There is no Tax-Aide without volunteers. Tax-Aide volunteers are essential to the program. Each year, nearly 35,000 volunteers run the program, from greeting taxpayers to preparing taxes.

 OF MOST IMPORTANCE FOR THOSE WHO USE OUR SERVICE:

  • BE PREPARED: Bring photo IDs for both Taxpayer and Spouse (if applicable) and Social Security cards or ITIN documents for ALL people included in the return. Keep in mind that if you are “Married Filing Separately,” you will still need your spouse’s social security verification. It is always helpful to bring a full copy of last year’s tax return.

CHECK OUT THIS LINK FROM THE NYTimes for more tax season information: