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Volunteers Make Tax Time Less Taxing

More than 150 AARP Foundation Tax-Aide volunteers in more than 10 South Dakota communities are at the ready to help low to moderate income taxpayers of all ages prepare their 2011 Income Tax Returns at no cost.

Tax-Aide is the nation’s largest free, volunteer-run tax preparation and assistance service available to low and moderate-income taxpayers of all ages with special attention to people age 60 and older. Charlotte Jaeschke has been the district coordinator for Tax-Aide in southeast South Dakota for the last several years. “I admire the program personally because it serves the community so very well. It’s geared toward low and middle income folks of all ages, so not only is AARP helping serve the elderl, we also get some who are younger families,” she said.

Volunteers are IRS trained and certified, and ready to prepare a variety of returns and have the ability to file electronically. “This is an important feature,” said Jaeschke. “Its fine to have your taxes done for free, however, if you can‘t be sure they’re done right that’s another issue. We do them right, we’re well qualified.” Jaeschke says clients come back year after year, because they appreciate the service.

“We use it because the people who work as volunteers are very well trained as far as the tax code which a lot of people are not aware of.. and they do a fantastic job,” said Robert Roby, a repeat client of AARP TaxAide.

AARP TaxAide volunteers say helping people with their taxes is a rewarding experience. “I recently retired, I’ve been doing my own taxes for 20+ years and was looking for something to give back to the community, and keep myself occupied during the winter months,” said Randall Lindquist, a TaxAide volunteer in Sioux Falls.

Last year more than 150 volunteers across South Dakota helped prepare and file more than 10,180 returns, helping them identify and receive deductions for which they may be eligible. Across the country in 2010, Tax-Aide volunteers helped people receive more than $233 million in Earned Income Tax Credit, a source of cash for people with limited resources.

“It’s been satisfying to be able to help these people save them some money in doing their taxes sometimes. The expense of having taxes done, its relatively complex for some of these people and I think we make a difference to the community and it’s fun,” said Linquist.

Most Tax-Aide locations accept appointments February 1st through April 15th. For a complete list of locations, hours visit AARP Foundation Tax-Aide online.

Watch a video of our AARP Tax Aide Volunteers in Action and find out more about volunteer opportunities on our YouTube channel.

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