2013-10-25 / Community

AARP volunteers sought for tax season

Join the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide Team in the Greater Portland area. Give back to your community. Help neighbors with the preparation of federal and state of Maine income tax returns. Help find credits and/or deductions. Volunteers of all ages and backgrounds are welcome. Volunteers do not need to be retired or AARP members.

In addition to tax preparation, many other volunteer opportunities are available. These include greeting taxpayers as they arrive at tax preparation sites, scheduling appointments, assisting with installation of software, trouble-shooting computer and printer problems, assisting with publicity or assuming one of the several leadership roles.

Volunteers preparing tax returns receive free training, usually in January, in both federal and state of Maine tax law as well as in the use of tax software. No prior experience in tax preparation is required, but familiarity with computers is a necessity. Volunteer tax preparers must also pass an IRS open book exam. All volunteers are expected to attend the portion of the training that introduces volunteers to the policies and procedures related to the program.

AARP Foundation Tax-Aide volunteers are asked to commit a minimum of four hours per week over the 10-week tax filing season which runs from Feb. 1 through April 15. Many volunteers opt for more. All volunteers are reimbursed on a limited basis for qualified program-related expenses, including mileage.

The AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program is the nation’s largest free, volunteer-run tax preparation and assistance program for low-to-moderate-income taxpayers, with special attention to those 60 and over.

Last spring throughout the U.S., more than 35,000 volunteers prepared tax returns for several million taxpayers. In Maine, more than 250 volunteers at 70 tax preparation sites met with approximately 22,000 taxpayers and prepared over 15,000 federal and state of Maine income tax returns, bringing more than $15 million in federal refunds to Maine residents and to the Maine economy. And, saved taxpayers the stress/frustration of preparing their own tax returns and/or saved them the cost of going to a paid preparer.

To learn more about the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program and to sign up as a volunteer, visit www.aarp.org/taxaide or contact Prospect Volunteer Coordinator, Joan Jagolinzer at jagolinzer@gwi.net.

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