Arthur Tilley/Getty Images
Each year thousands of Mainers have their taxes done by AARP Tax-Aide, which is the nation’s largest volunteer run, free tax counseling and preparation service.
Anyone who is interested can become a part of the team by volunteering their help, no prior experience is necessary. While there are numerous opportunities to volunteer for this program at the various locations across the state, tax preparers are particularly needed in Piscataquis, Hancock and Washington Counties.
Volunteer tax counselors receive free training in both federal and Maine tax regulations, and are exposed to the tax software, so computer familiarity is necessary. Upon completed the training, volunteers become certified by the Internal Revenue Service via passing an open book exam. Trainings are typically offered in January.
Why should you volunteer?
Well, those who do volunteer tend to come back year-after-year because they find the work to be rewarding. They find it intellectually challenging because they learn new skills, which they can then apply when helping others. Moreover, they also enjoy access tax deductions and credits, which they might not discover on their own. Those who volunteer with prior experience in the business arena, find it enjoyable to be able to provide their professional knowledge to a worthwhile and satisfying activity.
Current volunteer, Bonnie Jipson, who has been volunteering for AARP’s Tax-Aide for years, says that “she enjoys helping people do something they couldn’t do for themselves”.
She finds that most people are very grateful for the free help she gives them. Although, she isn’t allowed to accept any form of payment or gifts from the people she assists, she does however always accept their appreciation.
She explains, “It’s worth it just to see the smiles on their faces”.
Last year, AARP Tax-Aide volunteers helped prepare income tax returns for more than 18,000 Mainers who received more than $10 million in federal tax refunds. The AARP Tax-Aide program is administered through the AARP Foundation in cooperation with the IRS.
If interested in helping the program, tax aide volunteers are asked to make a commitment of at least 40 hours spread over the 10 week tax session, which begins on Feb. 1. Those who do decide to volunteer are reimbursed for mileage and other qualified program related expenses.
For more information about volunteer opportunities visit AARP Tax Aide, or call Joan Jagolinzer at (207) 883-8415.
Next ArticleRead This