PNS Daily Newscast - March 27, 2020 

The U.S. now has more confirmed coronavirus cases than any other country. Despite the pandemic, Election 2020 continues and states are making changes.

2020Talks - March 27, 2020 

3.3 million people reported being jobless last week, according to new Labor Department numbers. And Puerto Rico was supposed to hold primaries this weekend, though they pushed it back to late April, because of COVID-19.

Free Assistance Available for OR Tax Filers

In 2019, the AARP Foundation Tax Aide program helped nearly 45,000 Oregonians with their taxes. (alfexe/Adobe Stock)
In 2019, the AARP Foundation Tax Aide program helped nearly 45,000 Oregonians with their taxes. (alfexe/Adobe Stock)
February 4, 2020

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Oregonians stressed out over tax season can get free help on their returns. The AARP Foundation Tax Aide program provides assistance across the country on state and federal taxes.

More than 100 sites are available in Oregon. State coordinator for the program Bob Bruce said while there's always talk about simplifying the tax code, filing still is an involved process for many folks.

"Taxes are not simple for most people because there are a number of complicated kinds of forms and complicated rules and regulations about qualifying for various credits," Bruce said. "And we enjoy the opportunity to help people walk through what the law is."

In 2019, the Tax Aide program assisted nearly 45,000 Oregonians with their taxes, helping them get back more than $48 million in federal returns - that includes $11.5 million from the Earned Income Tax Credit program.

Statewide, there will be about 1,100 volunteers. Bruce said volunteers come from all walks of life - including folks who have professionally prepared taxes - and everyone spends about 40-50 hours training with software provided by the Internal Revenue Service. He said volunteers find the work rewarding.

"Many of them have done this many years running and they look forward to being able to help individuals and families deal with tax returns," he said.

Oregonians are encouraged to file a state return in order to get their portion of the kicker - the tax surplus credit coming back to residents that state officials say totals $1.6 billion.

People don't need to be AARP members to benefit from the Tax Aide program. The program's goal is to help lower- and middle-income folks with their taxes. Bruce said because the program is volunteer-run, it's a good idea to make an appointment.

Disclosure: AARP Oregon contributes to our fund for reporting on Consumer Issues, Health Issues, Livable Wages/Working Families, Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - OR