As the countdown to tax day begins, many local residents can count on AARP to help manage tax time stress. From February 1 through April 15, AARP Tax-Aide, the free tax assistance and preparation program offered by the AARP Foundation, helps taxpayers with basic federal, and state income tax returns.
Available to middle- and low-income taxpayers, with special attention to those age 60 and older, AARP Tax-Aide provides face-to-face tax assistance and preparation services at 255 sites across Massachusetts, including libraries, and senior and community centers.
AARP Tax-Aide also provides services to individuals who are unable to leave their homes. Contact a local AARP Tax-Aide site in your community for details.
A Well Trained, Professional Volunteer Corps
Last year, nearly 550 AARP Tax-Aide volunteers helped 24,000Massachusettsresidents with tax returns, stimulus filings and general questions. The program expects to help even more individuals this year, thanks to an increase in trained counselors throughout the state.
The exceptional quality of service provided by these dedicated volunteers consistently earns the program high marks in customer satisfaction. AARP Tax-Aide achieves a significant rate of repeat customers, who say they return to the program due to the friendliness, helpfulness, knowledge and skill of AARP Tax-Aide volunteers.
Experts in Tax Rules
AARP Tax-Aide volunteers have been trained in conjunction with the Internal Revenue Service and the Massachusetts Department of Revenue to perform tax counseling services. They are well-versed in Massachusettstax rules, including:
- Schedule HC: Health Care Information– The state’s landmark Health Care Reform Law requires Massachusetts residents age 18 and over who can afford health insurance to have health coverage or pay a penalty through their tax returns.
- Energy efficient credits– Bay State residential property owners may qualify for tax credits toward lead paint removal, renewable energy equipment, and septic system replacement.
- “Circuit Breaker” tax credit– Up to $960 is available for Massachusetts property owners and renters who are age 65 and older who meet certain criteria.
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA)
ARRA includes key provisions that affect tax year 2009 including:
- Making Work Pay– A refundable tax credit of up to $400 for working individuals and $800 for married taxpayers filing joint returns.
- First-time Homebuyer Credit– This ARRA provision extends the existing credit for qualifying home purchases to purchases before December 1, 2009.
- New Vehicle Tax Break– This special deduction applies to qualified motor vehicle purchases made after February 17, 2009.
- Temporary changes –Increases to Earned Income and Child tax credits, and suspension of tax on portion of unemployment benefits.
For more information about these and other ARRA provisions, visit the IRS online.
Don’t Delay – Make Your Appointment with AARP Tax-Aide Today
To find an AARP Tax-Aide site in the community, or a neighboring community, go to the online AARP Tax-Aide Site Locator or call 1-888-AARP-NOW (1-888-227-7669).
Most AARP Tax-Aide sites offer electronic tax filing (e-filing), at no charge to the taxpayer. E-filing ensures more accurate tax returns and faster processing of tax refunds.
Prepare for Your Meeting with AARP Tax-Aide
Before meeting with an AARP Tax-Aide volunteer, gather together some basic information and bring it with you to the AARP Tax-Aide site, such as:
- 2009 tax forms and preparation booklet
- Copy of last year’s income tax returns
- W-2 forms from each employer
- Unemployment compensation statements
- SSA-1099 form if you were paid Social Security benefits
- 1099-HC form if you have private health insurance
- All 1099 forms (1099-INT, 1099-DIV, 1099-misc) showing interest and/or dividends as well as documentation showing the original purchase price of your sold assets
- 1099R forms if you received a pension or annuity
- All forms indicating federal income tax paid
- Child care provider information (name, employer ID, Social Security number)
- All receipts or canceled checks if itemizing deductions
- Social Security numbers for all dependents
AARP Tax-Aide is administered by the AARP Foundation in cooperation with the Internal Revenue Service. The AARP Foundation is an affiliated, 501(c)(3) nonpartisan, charitable organization established in 1961.
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