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Free Tax Help Coming Back to Idaho

Help with income-tax preparation from the AARP Foundation's Tax-Aide volunteers begins Friday in Idaho. (PrincessOfCamelot/Twenty20)
Help with income-tax preparation from the AARP Foundation's Tax-Aide volunteers begins Friday in Idaho. (PrincessOfCamelot/Twenty20)
January 30, 2019

BOISE, Idaho - The AARP Foundation is back with free income-tax assistance for Idahoans and people across the country.

Last year, the Tax-Aide program helped 31,000 folks in Idaho file their tax forms, ensuring them more than $20 million in refunds. The service is open to everyone, not just seniors or AARP members, and aims especially to help lower- and middle-income taxpayers.

Gail Lusk, Idaho state coordinator of the AARP Foundation's Tax-Aide program, said recent changes to the tax code could make preparation confusing, but volunteers are up to date on the latest laws.

"All of our counselors that do tax returns are IRS-certified," she said. "They've gone through 40-plus hours of training. They've had to pass a[n] online exam to certify to do taxes."

Lusk said many volunteers come from the tax profession, but also include everyone from educators to engineers. Tax-Aide assistance will roll out Friday at locations across the state, including libraries, senior centers and churches. Lusk said all locations should be up and running by the end of the first full week of February.

Lusk advised people not to jump the gun when preparing their income taxes.

"A lot of people like to get their taxes done early, but those that have investments need to wait 'til after they receive their documents," she said. "It doesn't help the client at all if we don't have all of their tax documents, because it means that we would have to do an amended return."

The Internal Revenue Service began processing income-tax returns this week. Lusk said the government shutdown that lasted more than a month is not expected to delay refunds.

Tax-Aide locations can be found at aarp.org.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - ID