In preparation for the tax season, which is three months away, Bill Kozel is looking for volunteers to prepare taxes for seniors as part of the AARP Tax-Aide program.
AARP Tax-Aide is the nation's largest free, volunteer-run tax counseling and preparation service available to taxpayers with middle and low incomes, with special attention to those age 60 and older.
Kozel, the coordinator of the 11-county local AARP Tax-Aide district, will be at the Columbia County Library from 10 a.m. to noon Tuesday to explain the program and answer questions about training as a volunteer.
"The more the merrier," Kozel said.
Anyone 18 and older is welcome to volunteer, as long as they can devote five days in December and as many as eight days in January for training and are able to spend at least four hours a day between February 1 and April 15 doing taxes, Kozel said. Basic computer knowledge also is a must.
"The key is the background of computers and being available during the day," Kozel said. "You do not need to be an AARP member to join or to get aide."
The program, funded by AARP's affiliated charity The AARP Foundation and the Internal Revenue Service, was founded in 1968 and became a joint effort with the IRS in 1980.
"Last year, 35 to 40 volunteers did 1,500 returns," Kozel said of the volunteers working at tax preparation sites in two counties. "We have so many places we can send more people."
Volunteers will prepare federal and state tax returns such as the 1040, 1040A and 1040EZ forms, most of which are submitted electronically between Feb. 1 and April 15 at two sites in Columbia County and four sites in Richmond County. Basic tax returns including some stocks and bonds can be done. Those with complicated returns are advised to seek paid assistance.
All AARP Tax-Aide services are free and all the intensive training is free to volunteers. Anyone interested can call Kozel at (706) 210-3048 or go to his Tuesday information session at the library.
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