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Minimize Tax-Time Stress with Free Filing Assistance in CT

January 20, 2014

HARTFORD, Conn. - For those who are already starting to feel the stress of meeting this year's income tax deadline, some free expert assistance is available from a team that helped tens of thousands in Connecticut last year. According to Linda Avery, a volunteer who coordinates the Tax Aide program for AARP Connecticut, now is the time to call 211 to find a location near you if you think you'll need help preparing your income tax return.

"Typically we see a lot of people with Social Security, a couple of jobs here and there, education credits, earned income credits," she said. "Our volunteers are fully trained; they're capable of helping most individuals that come in to our sites."

Last year, 550 AARP Tax Aide volunteers provided face-to-face tax advice at no charge to 30,000 Connecticut taxpayers. Avery said those who call this week could get help as quickly as the first week of February, and the volunteers work right up until the April 15 tax-filing deadline.

Avery pointed out there are a few tax topics the volunteers are not trained to handle, such as the situation of tax filers who have rental property. She said one improvement to their service this year, is that they can now handle what are commonly known as "wash sales."

"Most of it is the result of people having automatic distributions from their retirement accounts and then dividend reinvestment," she said. "So, it's a small percentage of our population, but I wanted to get that out there because we had to turn people away in the past, and now we can handle them."

While the Tax Aide program is designed for low- and middle-income taxpayers, Avery said income or a person's tax bracket isn't a deal-breaker when it comes to seeking their help.

"We see people that come in that had to liquidate things during the year, maybe for medical expenses or education, so their income maybe a little bit higher," she recalled. "By the time you get down to their taxable income, it may be within a reasonable limit. So, we certainly do not turn people away for income or age."

Nationwide, AARP said, its Tax Aide program helped about 2.5 million Americans claim more than a billion dollars in income tax refunds for 2012.

For more information or to locate a local Tax-Aide site, visit or call 1-888-AARPNOW (1-888-227-7669), or 211 in Connecticut.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - CT