• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Free tax service offered at Woodford County Library

IRS-trained and certified volunteers are helping prepare tax returns for low and moderate income taxpayers, especially those 60 years old and older, every Thursday and Saturday morning (from 9:15 to 11:30) at the Woodford County Library through April 11.

Volunteer tax preparers here had already helped complete 190 tax returns by March 2, which is ahead of last year’s pace, when nearly 300 tax returns were filed, said site coordinator Susan Buffin.

“Everything is e-filed. So once they leave here they’re done,” said Buffin of the tax service. “… So when they walk out of here – unless they’ve got to pay – they’re done. They’re taxes are filed, and it doesn’t cost them anything except the time of sitting here and waiting.”

Buffin said it’s important for people in the community to know that AARP Foundation Tax-Aide volunteers can help anyone from 16 years old and older prepare their tax returns using the TaxSlayer computer software program. Anyone who wants to file their tax returns must have their social security card, photo ID and earning statements with them before seeing a Tax-Aide volunteer.

Volunteers must complete five days of training before they start, with all returning volunteers required to complete a two-day training, said Buffin.

“Plus,” she explained, “… we (all Tax-Aide volunteers) have to pass this advanced examination before we are considered certified.”

All tax returns go through a quality review by a second, more experienced Tax-Aide volunteer with specialized training, said Buffin. “Our main mission is quality,” she said. “We want an accurate return.”

AARP Foundation Tax-Aide volunteers do not have required training to help file returns for farm owners, people who own rental property, clergy or small businesses with an inventory, said Buffin.

Volunteers come from many different walks of life. They like working with numbers and helping others in the community, according to Buffin.

The retired elementary school teacher and principal said she has been volunteering with the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program for 17 years and “most of our people come to us by word of mouth.”

“They are absolutely wonderful to us,” said Buffin of Tax-Aide’s partnership with the Woodford County Library. “We just take over the place (the library’s second floor), when we come in here. But for them, it’s getting people into the library that don’t normally come to the library.”

For additional information about the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program and being a volunteer, visit aarp.org on the web.

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