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AARP offers free tax prep

by Elisha Morrison | February 13, 2016 at 4:00 a.m.
The Sentinel-Record/Mara Kuhn TAX PREP: Irene Sandhaus, an AARP tax aide volunteer, helps a couple with their annual income tax at the Garland County Library on Thursday.

Volunteers for AARP Foundation Tax-Aide at the Garland County Library, Lake Hamilton Parent Center and McAuley Wellness Center are providing free tax preparation for Garland County residents.

While AARP's tax program was originally designed for people with low to medium incomes and older than 50 years old, the program is open to anyone looking for help, said Bill Davidson, AARP Tax-Aide local coordinator for the Garland County Library.

Tax-Aide volunteers must attend both a self-training program offered through the IRS and a multiday AARP class to prepare for three tests they must pass in order to work in the program. Volunteers have the option of taking additional tests to prepare other types of returns. The coordinator for each center is required to take the additional tests.

"I love my volunteers. We couldn't do it without the volunteers. They are wonderful," Davidson said.

Davidson said more volunteers are always being sought to join the team for next year. Visit for information on volunteering.

Davidson cautioned that there are some returns the volunteers cannot process, including business profits and losses exceeding $25,000, capital gains and losses, rental property, farm income, employee business expenses, moving expenses and minors' investment income.

The program is funded by an IRS grant, AARP and other charities, which allows it to offer the services at no charge.

Each tax preparation takes an average of 30-45 minutes depending on the return and the preparer. At the library, Davidson said they can process 30 returns during a normal four-hour work day. Davidson said their mandate from AARP requires them to e-file the returns.

Last year, Garland County Library processed the most tax returns for the AARP program in the state.

Hours for the Garland County Library, 1427 Malvern Ave., are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays and 3-7 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday. The hours at the Lake Hamilton Parent Center, 300 Wolf St. in Pearcy, are 2-6 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. The hours at the McAuley Wellness Center, 5010 Highway 7 north, are 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. weekdays. The locations will operate through April 15.

Taxpayers who visit an AARP Foundation Tax-Aide site must bring last year's tax returns; Social Security cards or other official documentation for them and their dependents; a photo ID; a check to direct deposit any refunds; a W-2 from each employer; unemployment compensation statements; SSA-1099 form showing total Social Security benefits paid for the year, or Form RRB-1099, Tier 1 Railroad Retirement benefits; 1099 forms reporting interest (1099-INT), dividends (1099-DIV), proceeds from sales (1099-B), as well as documentation showing the original purchase price of sold assets; 1099-R form if they received a pension, annuity, or IRA distribution; 1099-Misc forms; information about other forms of income; state or local income tax refund; all forms and canceled checks indicating federal and state income tax paid, including quarterly estimated tax payments.

To itemize, taxpayers will need to bring a 1098 form showing any home mortgage interest; 1098-T and 1098-E forms (tuition and student loan interest payments); a list of medical and dental expenses, including doctor and hospital bills and medical insurance premiums, prescription medicines, costs of assisted living services, and bills for home improvements such as ramps and railings for people with disabilities; a summary of contributions to charities; receipts or canceled checks for all quarterly or other paid tax; property tax bills and proof of payment; Form 1095A if insurance was purchased through the Marketplace (Exchange); any exemption correspondence from the Marketplace (if applicable); dependent care provider information, including name, employer ID, or Social Security number; and 1099 forms related to continuing education and related receipts and canceled checks.

Local on 02/13/2016

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