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Free Tax Help for Arkansans Available Through AARP Program

The AARP Foundation's Tax-Aide Program is available at 20 locations across Arkansas to help prepare tax returns for people who can't afford professional assistance. (eyetoeyepix/GettyImages)
The AARP Foundation's Tax-Aide Program is available at 20 locations across Arkansas to help prepare tax returns for people who can't afford professional assistance. (eyetoeyepix/GettyImages)
February 28, 2018

FORT SMITH, Ark. — The income-tax filing deadline is April 17 this year, and if you can't afford professional help with your tax return, free assistance is available.

The AARP Foundation's Tax-Aide Program offers no-cost services in Arkansas preparing federal and state tax returns.

Joe Irwin, a communications specialist with Tax-Aide in Fort Smith, says most people's taxes used to be a simple matter, but not anymore.

"Nowadays, if you don't have a program that has the law and the brackets and all the mathematics built into it, it's very, very difficult just to do everyday, simple tax returns without some kind of help," he laments.

Irwin says Tax-Aide will be available at 20 locations across Arkansas this season, including senior centers, libraries and community centers.

To find a Tax-Aide site in your area, go to aarp.com/taxhelp or call 1-888-AARPNOW (1-888-227-7669). The dates and times each site is open will vary by site.

Irwin adds that you don't need to be an AARP member or even be age 50 or older to get their help. He says while they do prepare most returns, there are a few they don't handle.

"We exclude the farm income, the man of the cloth, rent income, depreciation, things like that," he says. "There's not necessarily a cap on income, but if it's out of scope for us we tell people right off the bat before we get too involved."

Last year, he says almost 200 Tax-Aide volunteers assisted more than 19,000 Arkansans in completing and electronically filing their returns. He says, unfortunately, tax time is when a lot of people discover that their identity has been stolen.

"There's so many people that have stolen identity that they have to have a PIN number issued every year by the IRS," he explains. "The PIN number is issued every year until IRS resolves a stolen Social Security number."

AARP Foundation's Tax-Aide program is celebrating its 50th year as the nation's largest free tax assistance service.

Mark Richardson, Public News Service - AR