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Wisconsin Senior Citizens Can Get Free Tax Help

The AARP Fountation's Tax-Aide Program offers free help in filling out tax forms. (ayo888/iStockPhoto)
The AARP Fountation's Tax-Aide Program offers free help in filling out tax forms. (ayo888/iStockPhoto)
January 17, 2017

MADISON, Wis. – Each year, tens of thousands of Wisconsin senior citizens take advantage of the AARP Foundation's Tax-Aide program, which offers free assistance to those who may not be able to afford the services of a professional tax preparer.

The program is targeted to the needs of retired people, but Mariann Muzzi, assistant state director of community outreach for AARP Wisconsin, says there are no age or income restrictions for using the program.

"Four out of five of the people who turn to AARP Tax-Aide are people 60 or older," she said. "Their household incomes aren't real high, and for many of them, a tax refund could mean they won't have to choose between paying for groceries or keeping the lights on."

People can find the nearest Tax-Aide location online, at Muzzi says the Tax-Aide volunteers get official training from both AARP and the IRS, so they are up-to-date on the latest changes in federal and state tax law.

At the Tax-Aide website, there are also tips on preparing for an appointment, and help in deciding which documents you need to take with you. For those who aren't online, Muzzi says it's also easy to get assistance by phone.

"There's a toll-free number, 888-227-7669, where an individual will answer your call and ask you to provide your ZIP code, and will be able to direct you to Tax-Aide service sites in your area," she added.

According to Muzzi, as people age, their tax returns can become more complex. Many working people have to deal with just one paycheck, but retirees often have several income sources, from investments, pensions, retirement plans and Social Security.

"And all of these different sources of income interact and have implications for our taxes," explained Muzzi. "And that's why our AARP Tax-Aide volunteers are really well-qualified to take a look at all of those different considerations and help people get their best possible return."

Tim Morrissey, Public News Service - WI