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Tax Aide Volunteers Ready to Crunch the Numbers for Illinoisans

PHOTO: AARP Tax Aide volunteers are available at sites throughout the state to help eligible Illinoisans prepare their state and federal tax returns. Photo courtesy of AARP.
PHOTO: AARP Tax Aide volunteers are available at sites throughout the state to help eligible Illinoisans prepare their state and federal tax returns. Photo courtesy of AARP.
February 9, 2015

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Tax season is in full swing, and volunteers are available to help eligible Illinoisans crunch the numbers. The AARP Foundation Tax Aide program offers free tax preparation assistance for families with low-to-moderate incomes.

AARP Illinois associate state director of communications Heather Heppner says the trained preparers can help taxpayers sort through new tax requirements and credits.

"There's a few changes that are going to come around this year particularly with regard to the Affordable Care Act," says Heppner. "Beyond that, our Tax Aide volunteers particularly look for areas that you may be eligible for deductions and other tax credits that you might not otherwise be aware of."

Interested taxpayers need to provide the usual income documents plus their family's health insurance information. Heppner says Illinoisans who used Tax Aide preparers last year received over $43 million in income tax refunds and over $5 million from the Earned Income Tax Credit.

The services are offered at nearly 200 sites around the state, including senior centers and libraries. Heppner recommends scheduling an appointment sooner rather than later.

"Our Tax Aide volunteers serve people at the sites from the beginning of February until tax day, April 15," she says. "The sites do fill up pretty quickly, and you don't want to be in a situation where it's the beginning of April and you can't get an appointment."

In 2014, over 1,100 Tax Aide volunteers helped more than 83,000 Illinoisans file their state and federal returns.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - IL