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AARP Tennessee Tax-Aide Coordinator

AARPDid you know that the nation’s largest free volunteer-run tax assistance program began with a chance discussion between two naval reservists more than 40 years ago?

During a weekend drill, an Internal Revenue Service agent expressed concerns about older tax filers making mistakes on their returns to then-AARP Executive Director Bernie Nash.  The tax expert said older people sometimes made mathematical mistakes, used the wrong forms or failed to take credits to which they were entitled.

Nash asked whether the IRS could provide training if AARP recruited volunteers to help others file their taxes. Nash reported the discussion at the office the following week. He learned that four participants from AARP’s adult education program—the Institute of Lifetime Learning—were already volunteering to help some of their fellow students complete their taxes.

Within a year, the AARP Board of Directors had reached a formal agreement with the IRS. Now, more than 35,000 AARP Tax-Aide volunteers, trained in cooperation with the Internal Revenue Service, help more than 2.6 million taxpayers file their federal, state, and local tax returns each year. The AARP Tax-Aide program is offered at approximately 6,500 locations nationwide in senior centers, libraries, community centers, and at other convenient locations across the country.

Tax-Aide volunteers are trained to assist with filing the 1040 Form and the more standard of the schedules, including Schedules A and B. Electronic filing (e-filing) is offered at most sites, with no charge to the taxpayer. E-filing ensures more accurate tax returns and faster processing.  And, the free, year-round assistance Tax-Aide offers via the Web allows taxpayers to pose questions online 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

In Tennessee, about 445 volunteers this month (February) will begin helping low-income and older Tennesseans with their tax returns at 89 sites across the state. Last year, we helped process 23,600 returns, earning more than $18 million in refunds.

It’s a good feeling to be able to volunteer and help people like that. I know that with the complexity of the returns, a lot of people wouldn’t be able to do it themselves. That’s why we’re here. Come see us.

To find a Tax-Aide site near you, call toll-free 1-888-OUR-AARP (888-687-2277) or visit www.aarp.org/taxaide.

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