It’s tax time again, and the AARP Foundation is again providing free tax assistance and preparation for Iowa taxpayers with low to moderate income with the AARP Tax-Aide program through this year’s filing deadline of April 18. You do not need to be a member of AARP or a retiree to use this service.
In 2010, more than 225 Iowa volunteers trained in cooperation with the Internal Revenue Service, helped almost 30,000 Iowa clients file federal and state returns at no cost to them. The Iowa AARP Tax-Aide program operates at 80 locations including senior centers, libraries and other convenient locations throughout the state.
Elmer Neussendorfer, AARP Iowa Tax Aide State Volunteer Coordinator says the finished returns are filed electronically, which means people who are expecting refunds can get them in as little as two weeks.
"It's much faster if they have it deposited into a checking or savings account. We will need the routing number for the bank and the account number that they want it to be deposited into."
Neussendorfer said he has been concerned that some taxpayers fall for those often advertised "refund anticipation loans.” He cautions that no matter how tempting, this type of high-interest loan is not a courtesy advance of what you expect to get back from Uncle Sam. "It's a big rip-off. It's a just a way for people to make money on, and exploit, poor people who want to get their refunds in a hurry."
For others, Neussendorfer said, figuring out what they need for tax preparation can be a source of anxiety. A key to take some of the worry out is planning ahead. Here’s what you’ll need to have ready and reduce the stress of the 2012 tax season:
- Positive Identification and Social Security numbers for all persons on returns
- Copy of last year’s income tax return(s)
- W-2 forms from each employer
- Unemployment compensation statements
- SSA-1099 if you were paid Social Security benefits
- All 1099 forms (1099-INT, 1099-DV, 1099-misc, etc.) showing interest and/or dividends, as well as documentation showing the original purchase price of your sold assets
- 1099 R forms if you receive a pension or annuity
- All forms indicating federal income tax paid
- Child care provider information (name, employer ID, Social Security number)
- A list of itemized deductions that can be supported with receipts
- Social Security numbers for all dependents
Tax-Aide services are available on a first-come, first serve basis. Tax-Aide volunteers serve anyone whose needs fall within the training and skills of the volunteer preparers.
AARP Foundation’s Tax-Aide embodies the spirit of giving back and service that has always been the touchstone of AARP. Tax-Aide remains 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. Since 1968, AARP Tax-Aide has helped more than 40 million people file their tax returns.
Find the nearest Tax-Aide site online or call 1-888-AARP-NOW (1-888-227-7669).