There’s one month until Tax Day! Tax season is notorious for being a headache for many during the springtime. From meeting strict deadlines, to knowing which services are reliable, taxes can create some unwanted stress. That’s why Tax-Aide started nearly five decades ago.
In 1970, AARP’s Tax-Aide Program was imagined during a Naval Reserve exercise and now serves nearly 2.7 million taxpayers annually. Admiral Bernie Nash was informed by a Naval Reserve officer, who was also an IRS official, that older taxpayers were cheating themselves out of millions of dollars. The IRS official warned Nash that older adults were not taking the deductions they were entitled to and that there were lapses in their tax forms. The two agreed to initiate a program where AARP volunteers would receive training from the IRS and provide free tax assistance to older taxpayers.
The Tax-Aide program has grown and, in 2016, connected nearly 35,000 IRS-trained volunteers to 2.7 million taxpayers nationwide. It’s now the nation’s largest free, volunteer-run tax assistance and preparation program.
In Texas alone, 2,029 AARP Foundation Tax-Aide volunteers helped more than 168,325 people file their federal and state tax returns last year. The program is offered at more than 270 sites in Texas including senior centers and libraries.
“We want to let Texans know that this is a great program within a friendly environment that makes the process of filing taxes easier and less chaotic,” said Ron Craig, the volunteer who oversees the program throughout Texas. “AARP Foundation Tax-Aide connects those who might need guidance on their taxes with trained volunteers.”
Last year, 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. Taxpayers do not need to be a member of AARP or a retiree to use this program.
AARP Foundation is looking to expand its team of volunteers for the upcoming tax season. Volunteer tax preparers receive tax preparation training and IRS certification. There is also a need for on-site greeters, those who can provide technical assistance and interpreters who can provide language assistance.
To find a location near you, visit aarpfoundation.org/taxaide or call 1-888-OUR-AARP (1-888-687-2277). AARP Foundation Tax-Aide is offered in coordination with the IRS.