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Tax-Aide Helps Thousands of Michigan Taxpayers

Another tax season is upon us, and nearly 900 AARP Tax-Aide volunteers in Michigan are prepared to help tens of thousands of seniors and others across the state complete their 2011 returns.

See Also: Taxes – Your frequently asked questions

The free AARP Foundation program has helped low-to-moderate income taxpayers with their returns for more than four decades. While all age groups can take advantage of the program, special attention is paid to those 60 and older.

Last year, the 872 Tax-Aide volunteers in Michigan helped 76,657 people file 40,223 federal returns and 14,963 state-only returns at 218 sites around the state.

This year, the number of sites has been reduced to about 180, said Calvin Strom, Tax-Aide coordinator for Michigan. But Strom expects the program will assist similar numbers of taxpayers.

“For the sake of efficiency, we closed down some sites where we would only get a few people. But there will be plenty of help for people in or near their home communities,” Strom said.

Tax-Aide helped Michigan taxpayers collect $25 million in “all kinds of refunds” last tax season, according to Strom. That includes younger clients who benefited from $3.7 million in Earned Income Tax Credits that go to low-income working households and $1.4 million in child care credits.

“People definitely rely on this service,” Strom said. “We provide a tremendous benefit in terms of refund money to clients. The numbers are phenomenal.

“And the volunteers, who aren’t paid for their service, do get some satisfaction from getting refunds for people.”

The Tax-Aide program is offered in cooperation with the IRS. Volunteers are trained and IRS-certified.

Returns can be processed electronically or on paper via regular mail.

Those seeking assistance must bring relevant documents with them to the program sites. These include last year’s tax return, Social Security cards, W-2s from employers, SSA-1099 forms showing Social Security benefits paid and other documentation.

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