Utah Tax-Aide volunteers met at the AARP Utah office for training.

Tax season is over, and AARP Tax-Aide in Utah did another outstanding job helping low-to-moderate income taxpayers in the state file their taxes at no charge and on time!  This year, over 6700 returns were completed at 32 sites around the state by 106 volunteer preparers.

AARP Foundation is very proud of Tax-Aide, which is the nation’s largest free, volunteer-run tax assistance and preparation program. It offers free tax preparation help to anyone, especially those who are 50 and older, who can’t afford a tax preparation service. AARP Foundation 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.

Tax-Aide has more than 5,000 locations in neighborhood libraries, malls, banks, community centers and senior centers. There’s no fee and no sales pitch, and AARP membership is not required.  Since 1968, Tax-Aide has helped nearly 50 million low- to moderate-income taxpayers.

AARP Foundation Tax-Aide started in 1968 with just four volunteers working at one site. Today, more than 35,000 volunteers serve in all 50 states and the District of Columbia from February 1 to mid-April.

In 2016, AARP Foundation Tax-Aide volunteers helped 2.7 million people navigate complicated tax codes, ensure proper credits and deductions and file their federal and state tax returns. Taxpayers who used AARP Foundation Tax-Aide received $1.41 billion in income tax refunds and more than $240 million in Earned Income Tax Credits (EITCs). They also avoided any tax preparation fees and pitches for high-interest tax credit or refund loans.

Because of the complexity of the U.S. Tax Code, struggling taxpayers 50+ may overpay their taxes or have to rely on expensive and, for too many, unaffordable professional tax preparation services. Many have particularly difficult tax situations, including:

  • Retirees whose previous experience with tax returns was limited to wages often face new provisions and complex forms to determine the taxable portion of their retirement income, different standard deduction amounts, permissible health care deductions and, if they sell their house, treatment of capital gains.
  • For some people 50+, the spouse who had always prepared the taxes dies or becomes incapacitated, leaving the other both grief and knowledge-stricken.
  • Many people don’t know about the benefits they qualify for, like the Earned Income Tax Credit.  Tax-Aide’s services make it easier for older, low-income taxpayers to file their tax returns and get the credits and deductions they deserve.

Program Benefits

  • Free, in-person assistance in local neighborhoods
  • Volunteers are trained and IRS certified every year
  • No fees or sales pitch for other services
  • AARP membership is not required
  • Tax-Aide is open to taxpayers of all ages and backgrounds

Volunteers are Always Needed

The recruitment cycle for Tax-Aide runs from late August through November each year. Volunteers receive training and certification locally during this time. The program seeks compassionate and friendly individuals to volunteer their time in a variety of roles, including:

  • Tax preparers who work with taxpayers directly, filling out tax returns and helping them find the deductions and credits they’ve earned
  • Client facilitators who welcome taxpayers as they arrive to the site, help them organize their paperwork and manage the overall flow of service at the site
  • Technology coordinators who manage computer equipment, ensure taxpayer data is secure and provide technical assistance to volunteers at various local sites
  • Leadership and administrative volunteers who manage overall site operations and site activities
  • Bilingual interpreters who can assist volunteers and taxpayers with language support

2016 AARP Foundation Tax-Aide Customer Satisfaction Survey Results:

The 2016 AARP Foundation Tax-Aide Customer Satisfaction Survey shows that the 2.7 million people who use the Foundation’s free, volunteer-run tax preparation service every year understand its value.

The survey, done by AARP Research, found that 97% of those who use AARP Foundation Tax-Aide are very satisfied with its service, and 97% would be highly likely to recommend it to others needing help. (Eighty-four percent have already done so.) Eighty-nine percent said the quality of service was excellent.

The taxpayers who use AARP Foundation Tax-Aide are primarily the people the program is designed to serve: older, low-to-lower-middle income people.

  • Almost four out of five (89%) are 60 or older, 67% are women, and 64% are AARP members.
  • The majority of those who use AARP Foundation Tax-Aide (71%) have household incomes of $40,000 or less:
    • 5% have less than $10,000 in annual household income;
    • 21% report income between $10,000 and $20,000; and
    • 25% receive $20,000 – $30,000 a year.
    • Just 17% reported an annual income above $50,000.

For More Information about Tax-Aide in Utah contact John Bianucci at jondee41@gmail.com

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