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AARP Offers Fast & Free Tax Preparation

February 8, 2012

DES MOINES, Iowa – Every year, the AARP Tax Aide program helps thousands of Iowans prepare their income tax returns, free of charge.

Elmer Neussendorfer is the volunteer coordinator who makes sure Iowa's 80 Tax Aide locations statewide are staffed through Apr. 17. He says the finished returns are filed electronically, which means people who are expecting refunds can get them in as little as two weeks.

"It's much faster if they have it deposited into a checking or savings account. We will need the routing number for the bank and the account number that they want it to be deposited into."

Neussendorfer is concerned that many taxpayers fall for those "refund anticipation loans" that are often advertised by some tax preparation firms. He cautions that, no matter how tempting, this type of high-interest loan is not a courtesy advance of what you expect to get back from Uncle Sam.

"It's a big rip-off. It's a just a way for people to make money on, and exploit, poor people who want to get their refunds in a hurry."

AARP Tax Aide assistance is free to low- and moderate-income taxpayers of any age. For information and locations, look online at www.aarp.org.

An AARP Research and Analysis survey found that 95 percent of those who use Tax Aide are very satisfied with the service, and 96 percent would be highly likely to recommend it to others needing help.

Dick Layman, Public News Service - IA