With just two months to go before the end of the year, most of us are not quite ready to start thinking about filing our tax returns. However, AARP Foundation Tax-Aide coordinators are already gearing up for the 2014 tax season and they need volunteers throughout the state. This is a wonderful chance to help others and learn new skills at the same time. AARP Foundation Tax-Aide is the nation’s largest free, volunteer-run tax preparation and assistance service. If you are looking for a new way to volunteer, please consider this opportunity!
To give you a little background on the program, AARP Foundation Tax-Aide was founded in 1968 by four AARP volunteers. Today, the program boasts more than 35,000 volunteers in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Together, they serve at over 6,100 Tax-Aide sites from February 1 to April 15. AARP Foundation Tax-Aide volunteers are trained and IRS-certified each year to ensure they understand the latest changes and additions to the U.S. Tax Code. The majority of clients are low to moderate income taxpayers with special attention given to those 60 and over.
In Maine, AARP Foundation Tax-Aide helps thousands of residents. In 2013, more than 250 volunteers filed over 20,000 Maine tax returns through the program, all for free! From February 1st through April 15th, AARP Foundation Tax-Aide volunteers provide one-on-one assistance across 81 sites throughout Maine. Typically, you’ll find these sites at senior centers, community centers and public libraries.
You do not need to have a background in accounting or financial planning to be an effective volunteer with the program. You will receive all the training you need to assist individuals with the preparation of their federal and state basic income tax returns. Your training, provided in cooperation with the Internal Revenue Service, includes tax law procedures, tax form preparation and how to use tax preparation software. Volunteers are reimbursed on a limited basis for qualified program-related expenses, including mileage, and you do not need to be an AARP member or a retiree to participate.
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 several leadership roles.
AARP Foundation Tax-Aide volunteers are asked to commit a minimum of 4 hours per week over the ten-week tax filing season. Many volunteers opt for more!
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer and would like more information about the program and the training, please go to www.aarp.org/taxaide or you can call 1-888-OUR-AARP. You can also contact Prospective Volunteer Coordinator, Joan Jagolinzer, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Becoming a volunteer is another way AARP connects you to people with shared interests and a terrific way to help others in your community! We hope you will consider joining the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide team this year!