AARP AARP States Utah Volunteering

Tax Aide Seeks Volunteers for Upcoming Tax Season

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AARP Foundation Tax-Aide volunteer Donna Ortega (right) helps a Washington, D.C., program participant file his taxes free of charge. — Jim Vecchione



Interesting Volunteer Opportunities Available  

AARP Foundation Tax-Aide announced it is seeking volunteers in Utah. As the nation’s largest volunteer-run tax preparation and assistance service, AARP Foundation Tax-Aide is recruiting volunteers in the state for tax counseling and leadership positions, as well as public relations and greeter positions. 

Each year from February 1 through April 15, trained and certified AARP Foundation Tax-Aide volunteers prepare, free of charge, federal, state and local tax returns for low- and middle -income taxpayers, with special attention to those age 60 and older. 

Last year alone, Tax-Aide volunteers helped nearly 6800 Utahans across the state complete their tax forms correctly and on time. With the help of 105 volunteers at 36 different, Tax-Aide put nearly $4.8 million in federal refunds back in the pockets of Utah families. 

“Tax Aide needs more volunteers, people who are willing to use their existing skills or learn a new skill and help those in Utah who can least afford to pay for their own tax returns,” said John Bianucci, AARP Foundation Tax‐Aide State Coordinator in Utah. “You don’t need to be a tax expert to volunteer, nor do you need to be a member of AARP or over the age of 60. Mainly you need to be willing to help others with a yearly task no one really likes doing. You need to be a good communicator and somewhat comfortable with computers–knowing how to email and access the internet is plenty. We will teach prospective volunteers the tax law applicable to our limited scope, the basics of tax preparation use of the software we use to electronically file tax returns. As a new volunteer, you will be paired with a mentor that you can look to for help and advice throughout the tax year.” 

“While we always need volunteers that are interested in preparing taxes, there are other ways that you can get involved,” said John. “Greeters and intake counselors are always needed at the busier sites. These volunteers make sure that all the taxpayer are taken care of and help organize the clients’ paperwork which greatly enhances the productivity of the tax preparer. There is also a need for computer expertise, advertising and administrative skills as well."

Starting in 1968 with just four volunteers at one site preparing 100 tax returns, AARP Foundation Tax-Aide now involves more than 35,000 volunteers and serves 2.6 million taxpayers annually at nearly 5,000 sites nationwide. In fact, it is one of the most effective volunteer programs in America.

“Being a volunteer with AARP Foundation Tax-Aide is a great way to keep your mind active and, at the same time, help other people,” concluded John. “If you ask any of the current 105 volunteers in Utah the reason that we keep coming back, it is the smile of relief and words of appreciation we get from helping someone complete a yearly task that almost everyone dreads.”

For more information or to sign up as a volunteer, log onto www.aarp.org/taxaide.

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Q & A with John Bianucci, AARP Foundation Tax ‐Aide State Coordinator in Utah

Who volunteers for AARP Tax-Aide?

We have volunteers from all walks of life. Once a person retires from their lifelong profession or home lifr, they tend to think of ways to use their time and skills in helping others. Tax Aide can use volunteers not only in tax preparation, but also in communications, computer and administrative areas.

Who would I be helping as a volunteer?

Tax-Aide primarily helps low income and/ or seniors prepare their annual Federal and state tax returns. Each return averages about 45 minutes which gives the prepare some time to get to know and visit with the taxpayer.

Do I need to have experience working with numbers?

To prepare taxes it is helpful to be familiar with a computer (e-mail and internet use) and be able to apply the tax laws to the specific taxpayer’s situation. You don’t need to be a math wiz or even an accomplished typist. You do need to be practical and have reasonable communication skills.

What if I like working with people better than working with numbers?

Tax-Aide provides opportunities to work with people without having to prepare taxes. We need administrative assistants, taxpayer greeters, computer helpers, advertising expertise and other similar type of Volunteers.

I have a knack for computers and technology – can you make use of my skills?

Tax-Aide certainly can! AARP and the IRS provide Tax-Aide with computers and software which , as you know, always need attention by loving hands!

I love getting out the word about things happening in our community – is there a role for me?

Yes. Tax Aide has specific positions and job descriptions for volunteer recruiting, advertising our services and helping to find new sites. Your vision is almost unlimited in these positions!

I have served in leadership and administrative positions – do you need folks with my abilities?

Tax-Aide’s structure is similar to that many other organizations and all area require managers and leaders. Within the State we have trainer, administrator, recruiter and communications positions the help the Districts. Districts have similar positions to help the individual tax preparation sites and each site has a Local Coordinator. All of these area require leaders and managers.

Final thoughts?

You will find volunteering for Tax-Aide to be very rewarding. Taxpayers are extremely grateful to you for not only helping them complete a very stressful task but also for helping them get a refund or helping them get organized to get one the following year. Even though Tax Aide volunteers cannot take any money for their service, doughnuts and goodies always seem to show up at many of the tax preparation sites!

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