Tax-Aide Available to Oregonians, with Pandemic Alterations
Monday, January 24, 2022
Oregonians can get free help with their income taxes once again this year. However, as in recent years, the pandemic is changing what the assistance looks like.
Typically, the AARP Foundation's Tax-Aide program happens in-person, focusing specifically on people over age 50 or those who have low to moderate incomes.
Kathy Goeddel, assistant state coordinator for the AARP Foundation's Tax-Aide program in the Portland Metro area, said the recent surge in COVID-19 cases means protocols are in place to protect clients and volunteers.
"We have options for virtual preparation, we have options for people dropping off their materials, and then other options for us to scan in their materials and then, prepare things remotely and get them back electronically," Goeddel outlined.
Tax-Aide services usually ramp up around Feb. 1. Goeddel said the goal is to have 75 sites up and running, across the state. A site locator will be available, along with other tools, on the AARP website, as well as the Internal Revenue Service website.
Goeddel said she often hears from people who are grateful for help with their taxes.
"Some of the credits that are available to seniors and working families are pretty complex," Goeddel noted. "We're able to help some with difficult situations that would be hard to get right without training, and get them the best possible refunds that they can get."
Goeddel is asking people to be patient this year, noting returns will take a bit longer to complete because the appointments are not happening in person. She said there are fewer volunteers than usual due to the pandemic. In 2021, about 500 Tax-Aide volunteers in Oregon completed 12,000 tax returns.
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