Last year, 750 AARP Tax-Aide volunteers in communities across Wisconsin helped over 43,500 Wisconsinites fill out their tax returns, resulting in refunds totaling more than $26 million.
However, as the program continues its success and expansion into new sites, there is a growing need for volunteer tax preparers. As such, AARP is looking for new volunteers from all over the state who are interested in helping seniors fill out their tax returns as part of the AARP Tax Aide program.
“Tax-Aide is AARP’s largest nationwide volunteer run program and it has been a huge success here in Wisconsin because we have so many knowledgeable tax preparers,” said Mariann Muzzi of AARP Wisconsin, who works closely with Tax-Aide Volunteer State Coordinator Paul Swanson. “This service is made possible only because of the dedicated support of community volunteers.”
Tax-Aide is a free, confidential service supported by people in local communities. It is available to middle and low income taxpayers of all ages with special attention to those age 60 and older. The program is operated by volunteers who are IRS certified and trained to assist in filing basic tax forms.
“The complexity of the US Tax Code causes many people to look for help in completing their tax return. The AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program offers a viable, free service. There are some restrictions on the forms that volunteer tax preparers are trained to complete." Swanson said.
Since volunteers are trained and tested every year, they are able to stay current with the ever changing tax law. Thus, they are able to help taxpayers with the Earned Income Credit (EIC), Education Credits, Retirement Savings Credit, Child Tax Credit and the Wisconsin Homestead Credit.
Life circumstances change in retirement, Swanson said. People whose previous experience with tax returns was limited to wages now often face new provisions and complex forms to determine the taxable portion of their retirement income. Plus, for many people 50+, the spouse who had always prepared the taxes dies or becomes incapacitated, leaving the other both grief and knowledge-stricken.
The program, which has helped more than 36 million people file their tax returns over the past 40 years, will begin assisting people with their 2012 tax returns on Feb. 1, 2013. To become a volunteer or to get more information about Tax-Aide locations and hours at a site near you, visit www.aarp.org/taxaide or call 1-888-227-7669.
Here is some more information about the program:
- This free service is offered at 135 Tax-Aide sites in communities across Wisconsin.
- AARP Wisconsin Tax Aide volunteers helped 43,500 Wisconsinites receive refunds of over $26 million including $5 million dollars of Earned Income Credit through their federal returns.
- 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.
- Those who volunteer will be trained by AARP and the IRS and then assigned a Tax Aide site near their home.
- Here is a brief Q&A about the Tax Aide Program