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AARP seeks volunteers for ‘Tax-Aide’ program

By Staff | Dec 2, 2009

AARP, an organization for people over the age of 50, is asking for local volunteers to assist with preparing and filing taxes.
AARP’s “Tax-Aide,” the largest volunteer-based tax assistance program in the United States, helps lower- income taxpayers and also focuses on residents 60 and older.
The program has been in existence for more than 40 years and is part of AARP’s Foundation.
Brenda Maggi said the AARP is looking for as many volunteers as possible.
“We’d liked to get as many as possible so we could put in an additional shift and serve more people,” said Maggi.
Tax-Aide is offered in conjunction with the Internal Revenue Service and the VITA program. Some local sites reported more than 1,000 people taking advantage of tax assistance between Feb. 1 and April 15 earlier this year.
“It is aimed at people 60 and over, but we help middle- and lower-income people who fall in that scope,” said Maggi.
Volunteers chosen for Tax-Aide begin a self-training program this month and start taking classes in January.
They must pass an exam before they start preparing tax forms.
Curtis Hamilton, a local advocacy organizer, said the AARP Foundation is one of three organizational arms. Both Tax-Aide and the safe driver program are part of the foundation and are free.
“It is one of the most popular free programs,” he said.
Florida hosts 685 sites for tax assistance, he said, and in 2009 there were 2,733 volunteers serving 144,618 people. Nationwide there were 33,000 Tax-Aide volunteers who served 2 million people.
Maggi said volunteers of all ages and backgrounds are welcome.
Neither the volunteers or residents seeking tax assistance need to be members of AARP to participate.
“One critical point is that you don’t have to be a member of AARP to volunteer or get services. It is open to everyone,” she said.
For information on becoming a volunteer visit www.aarp.org/taxaide or call 1-888-OUR-AARP.