By: Andrea Sears
HARRISBURG, Pa. – April 15 is coming up fast and there are a lot of changes in federal tax laws this year, but free help getting income-tax returns filed is available now.
AARP has offered free, in-person tax assistance and preparation since 1968. Last year, more than 1,500 volunteers helped 114,000 low- and moderate-income taxpayers at 290 sites across Pennsylvania.
The service focuses on people over age 50, but anyone is welcome to get help filing their tax returns. And according to Bill Johnston-Walsh, state director of AARP Pennsylvania, the volunteers are well prepared to help out.
“We’re very proud at AARP that our Tax-Aide volunteers are trained and IRS-certified each year to ensure that they know about and understand the latest changes in the U.S. Tax Code,” he says.
AARP Foundation Tax-Aide volunteers will offer their free tax assistance through April 15. But you need an appointment. To find a location near you, call 888-227-7669.
Johnston-Walsh points out that in 2018, getting tax help through the Tax-Aide program really paid off.
“People throughout the United States received $1.3 billion in income-tax refunds last year,” he says, “and $213 million in the Earned Income Tax Credits.”
He adds those tax filers also avoided the fees associated with commercial tax preparation services.
Johnston-Walsh notes that what began in 1968 with just four volunteers helping people with their income taxes has now grown into the nation’s largest volunteer-run, free tax preparation service.
“Today we have nearly 35,000 volunteers throughout the United States, at 5,000 locations around the country,” says Johnston-Walsh. “Neighborhood libraries, malls, banks, community centers, senior centers.”
More information is online at ‘aarpfoundation.org/taxhelp.’