AARP Seeks Volunteers for Free Tax Prep Program

In 2009, “sitting on the beach” in my consulting job (and bored), I saw an article about the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide and started what is now 13 years of volunteering every tax season. . I have never regretted this decision.

Tax-Aide provides free tax preparation assistance to everyone. Neither volunteers nor taxpayers need to be AARP members, and there are no sales pitches for other services. Tax volunteers study online in November and December, and formal training courses are scheduled for January 2023.

Many taxpayers overpay their taxes or turn to paid tax services that they cannot afford. Some may forego filing their taxes and miss credits and deductions they have earned because they are unable to pay assistance. Tax-Aide volunteers can help by providing needed services in communities where the need is greatest.

AARP Foundation Tax-Aide has grown from its first team of just four volunteers in 1968 and has served more than 68 million taxpayers since its inception. The program has volunteers in every state, who typically number more than 30,000. AARP Foundation tax assistance is offered in coordination with the IRS’ Senior Tax Counseling Program.

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We are looking for compassionate and friendly people to join our team of volunteers. We’ll provide you with the training and support to help you learn new skills and you’ll feel great helping those in need. The program is looking for people to volunteer in person – with physical distancing measures in place.

Volunteers come from a variety of industries and range from retirees to students. All levels and types of experience are welcome for a variety of roles:

  • Advisors work directly with taxpayers by completing tax returns. If you have no prior experience, you will get the training you need and also receive IRS certification.
  • Client facilitators greet taxpayers, help them organize their paperwork, and manage the overall flow of services.
  • Technology coordinators manage computer equipment, ensure the security of taxpayer data and provide technical assistance to volunteers.
  • Leadership and administration volunteers ensure the smooth running of program operations, manage volunteers and maintain quality control.
  • Also for tax professionals, the IRS offers Continuing Education (CE) credits to those who volunteer to serve as quality advisors, instructors, and/or examiners.

Last year in Duval County, AARP Foundation Tax-Aide volunteers filed 2,881 returns with refunds totaling $3,239,478 and we claimed $506,443 in credits. This would not be possible without our volunteers, who leave an indelible mark on the taxpayers we work with and the communities where they live.

To learn more about our volunteer opportunities, visit AARPFoundation.org/taxhelp or call 1-888-OUR-AARP (1-888-687-2277).

clark

Marilyn Clark, District Coordinator, AARP Foundation Tax-Aide

This guest column is the opinion of the author and does not necessarily represent the views of The Times-Union. We welcome a diversity of opinions.

Ryan H. Bowman