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Free Tax Filing Assistance for Many Bay Staters

February 7, 2011

BOSTON - Tax season has begun, and whether you use an accountant or a computer program, or try to file your returns on your own, it can be an expensive and complicated process. But thanks to the AARP Foundation, people in Massachusetts with low-to-moderate incomes do not have to go it alone, and help is available for free.

John Woods is the state volunteer coordinator for the AARP Tax Aide program. He says there are 255 sites around the Bay State staffed with volunteer counselors to help people of all ages.

"The tax code in the United States is just incredibly complicated. In many cases, the middle class, and particularly the lower-income people, are not aware of the tax breaks they are entitled to."

Woods says many of the tax help sites have evening and weekend hours to accommodate different schedules, with drop-ins welcome and appointments available, too. He says one should prepare by gathering up information.

"They need to bring all of their tax forms. They should bring last year's return if they have it; that will allow us to check for changes and things that might be missing."

Woods says all the volunteer Tax Aide counselors must pass IRS certification exams, and are kept up to date with both federal and state tax laws every year.

Most returns are filed electronically, and many taxpayers will receive their refunds within a week or two.

To find a Tax Aide site near you, call 1-888-AARPNOW, or go to www.aarp.org

Monique Coppola, Public News Service - MA