It’s April, and everyone is going through last minute income tax filing anxiety ahead of this year’s April 18 deadline.
For many folks who want to pay their federal and state income tax, an IRS 1040 can be a confusing document. They need assistance, but not so much assistance that they are willing to pay hundreds of dollars just to get it right, and with no mistakes that would draw IRS scrutiny.
This year, after a seven-year hiatus, Community Library in Sunbury teamed up with the AARP Tax Aide Foundation to provide free tax preparation assistance every Tuesday for scheduled clients – taking the anxiety out of basic income tax preparation.
In addition to AARP’s Local Tax Aide Coordinator Peggy K, Bob S, Jerry S, Diane K, and Pam M make up AARP’s District 4 Team that provides tax preparation services at Community Library, SourcePoint, Andrew’s House in Delaware, and the Dublin Recreation Center.
“The AARP Tax Aide Foundation is a partnership between AARP and the IRS using software contributed by the IRS,” Peggy K said. “We’re all volunteers that go through rigorous training in January; and each of our volunteers must be certified by taking four separate IRS exams. The experience of our preparers range from first-year preparers to those with an excess of 20 years experience.”
Peggy K said the AARP volunteers have strict limitations to the scope of taxes they can do. They don’t do rentals that have depreciation, they don’t do farm income, and they don’t do self-employment taxes with over $10,000 income or 1099s.
“The majority of income tax preparations that we do, our target group, is for low-to-moderate income seniors, but we don’t turn anyone away who falls with in our scope,” Peggy K said.
“What we do is comparable to the IRS Vista Program.”
Peggy K said unfortunately, AARP Tax Aide at each of its locations is by appointment only, no walk-ins, and all Community Library appointments are currently full; she said folks could call the library to get on a waiting list, but there are no promises.
“Appointment scheduling opened up during the last week in January.” Peggy K said. “On average it takes one-and-a-half to two hours to do a tax return, and we schedule 12 appointments per day. We started on February 7 and we’ll complete tax returns until April 11.
“When we’re done we’ll have completed well over 100 tax returns at Community Library with our full schedule — all done at no charge,” she added. “We’re grateful that Community Library is able to provide the support for our program and the space to meet with clients. If it wasn’t for the library we couldn’t do what we do.”
Community Library Director Chauncey Montgomery said he and his staff are excited they can offer the AARP Tax Aide service again.
“The AARP Tax Aide Program is a great resource for the Big Walnut community,” Montgomery said. “They’re using the new part of the library’s meeting room, and we could only offer this service because of this new space.”
The official deadline to file federal income tax returns each year is typically April 15, unless something interferes with that timing, like April 15 falling on a holiday.
Under a special rule, whenever a tax deadline falls on a Saturday, a Sunday or a legal holiday, it’s moved to the next business day. Because Sunday, April 16, is Easter Sunday, Monday is out of the question, so tax day this year is Tuesday, April 18.
Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093.