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Volunteers Needed For Tax Assistance Program

You don't have to be a tax professional to volunteer with AARP Foundation's Tax-Aide program. Credit: US Department of Veterans Affairs
You don't have to be a tax professional to volunteer with AARP Foundation's Tax-Aide program. Credit: US Department of Veterans Affairs
October 9, 2015

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Each year, volunteers fan out across the state in an effort to make tax season a little less taxing for tens of thousands of Missourians, and program leaders say even more help is needed this time around.

For nearly half a century, the AARP Foundation's Tax-Aide program has helped people of low to moderate means prepare and file their taxes for free. Last tax season, said Missouri program coordinator Bob Juergens, hundreds of trained volunteers staffed sites located at libraries, senior centers and other community locations statewide to provide what he called a priceless service for free.

"The IRS estimates they would spend an average of $250 to have their taxes prepared," he said. "The added benefit, of course, is we're able to put money in their pocket that they can use for necessities."

Juergens said sites across the state will need additional volunteers to meet the demand this tax season. No prior experience is needed, although he noted that familiarity with computers is helpful. From greeters to translators to those who actually will prepare the tax returns, he said, the main requirement for volunteers is a desire to be of service.

"We get the satisfaction of being able to help people who, generally speaking, either can't afford to have this done," he said, or, "I think more typically, they're very nervous about messing up their tax return."

Last year, the Tax-Aide program helped Missourians claim nearly $31 million in federal and state tax refunds. Volunteers receive 40 hours of training, much of it online. They use IRS-approved software to do simple returns and are covered by liability insurance.

More information is online at aarp.org/taxaide.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - MO