By Christina Clem, AARP Washington
There are few constants in life but there is something that happens like clockwork every year. That’s right. Tax season is upon us. Fortunately, help is available. The AARP Foundation is providing free tax assistance and preparation through its Tax-Aide program from Feb. 1 through April 17. AARP Foundation Tax-Aide is the nation’s largest free tax assistance and preparation service. Since its inception, the program has served more than 50 million taxpayers.
The program was conceived in 1968 by four volunteers who prepared 100 income tax returns at one site. Since then, the program has grown steadily in number of volunteers, filers and popularity. Today, nearly 35,000 volunteers serve low- to moderate-income taxpayers at 5,000 locations nationwide in neighborhood libraries, malls, banks, community centers and senior centers. There’s no fee, and AARP membership is not required. Almost anyone can receive free assistance. Those with particularly complex issues and complicated returns are encouraged to seek professional services.
“Every year, the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program helps tens of thousands of Washingtonians with free tax preparation,” said Doug Shadel, AARP Washington State Director. “Whether you are a working or retired individual, our IRS tax-certified volunteers can help answer your questions and prepare your tax returns.”
AARP Foundation Tax-Aide volunteers receive extensive training and are IRS-certified each year to ensure they know about and understand the latest changes to the U.S. Tax Code. In 2017, the program’s volunteers helped 2.5 million people nationwide 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 $1.37 billion in income tax refunds and more than $222 million in Earned Income Tax Credits (EITCs). They also avoided any tax preparation fees and pitches for high-interest tax credit or refund loans.
The program is offered at approximately 140 sites in Washington State including senior centers, libraries and other convenient locations. Our online Tax-Aide locator site can provide a list of sites by zip code, county or address. The search radius for locations can be as close as five miles from you.
Before visiting a Tax-Aide site, please note:
- You will need to bring your important documents to the site.
- Site hours are subject to change on a weekly basis. Therefore, please check again the day before you plan to go to the site.
Those interested in utilizing AARP Foundation Tax-Aide can set up an appointment or find a location that accepts walk in filers. To find an AARP Foundation Tax-Aide site or get more information, including a comprehensive list of documents to bring to the tax site, visit www.aarpfoundation.org/taxhelp or call 1-888-AARPNOW (1-888-227-7669). AARP Foundation Tax-Aide is offered in cooperation with the IRS.
In addition to tax season filing, Tax Aide maintains a year-round online platform to answer commonly asked questions about federal tax issues, especially the provisions of the tax code that affect older people. You can submit a question online. AARP Foundation Tax-Aide volunteers will review your question and respond by email within three to five business days.