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Free Tax Aid in NC Begins Today

January 30, 2012

RALEIGH, N.C. - Tax season is on the minds of many in North Carolina, and not everyone is up to the task without some expert help.

AARP's Tax Aide program begins statewide today, with free preparation of income-tax returns for people with low to moderate income. Almost 80,000 people received help in North Carolina last year from Tax Aide's Internal Revenue Service-trained volunteers, according to Jim Spicer, Tax Aide's volunteer coordinator for the state.

"There's a lot of people out there that need help with their taxes. The more complex they get, the worse it gets. You get a lot of good feelings from people that thank you and say, 'Oh boy! Now I can sleep, now that it's over with.' "

The IRS supports the Tax Aide program, Spicer says, because it reduces the number of handwritten tax returns it receives as well as calculation errors.

"By the time we get through with them, they've been edited by the software, and when they go in they go directly to the IRS computers, rather than have somebody key them in, which makes other mistakes. "

The volunteer tax preparer will want to see the taxpayer's photo ID and a copy of his or her Social Security card, Spicer says, as well as last year's tax return and any documentation needed for this year.

North Carolina has 110 Tax Aide sites, with more than 1,200 volunteers, who must pass a test each year to be certified to work for the program.

The Tax Aide program has been around for more than 40 years. Last year, 2.6 million taxpayers used the service nationwide, with a 95 percent satisfaction rate. Despite its AARP connection, the program is not limited to seniors.

Find a Tax Aide location by calling 1-888-AARP-NOW (1-888-222-7669) or online at aarp.org.

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - NC