Get free help preparing your taxes from AARP Foundation Tax-Aide. Find a location


You Could Choose Your Dream Vacation

Contests and

AARP’s Superstar
2015 Contest

Sing for a chance to win $5,000! Enter AARP’s Superstar 2015 Contest!
See official rules.

Driver Safety

Piggy bank on the road - AARP Driver Safety

Take the new AARP Smart Driver Course!

AARP Books

Visit the Money Section

Enjoy titles on retirement, Social Security, and becoming debt-free.

Jobs You Might Like

most popular


North Carolina

Tax-Aide Program Helps Low- to Moderate-Income Taxpayers

Volunteers process tax returns for free

North Carolina State Page News March 2011

Cathy Justice has been using the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide service to help prepare her income tax returns for free. Tax-Aide volunteers expect to prepare about 50,000 returns this year at nearly 100 sites around North Carolina. — Darron R. Silva/Aurora

For years, Cathy Justice paid an accountant to prepare and file her taxes, but when she heard about a free tax preparation service offered by the AARP Foundation, she decided to give it a try.

Justice was so impressed with the service she received that she is now a regular client of the AARP Foundation's Tax-Aide program, and she hasn't paid an accountant in the past several years.

"In this world, what do you get free anymore?" asked Justice, an administrative assistant in the Henderson County Fire Marshal's Office.

Tax-Aide, a nationwide, volunteer-run tax preparation and assistance program that began in 1968, is an AARP Foundation program provided in cooperation with the Internal Revenue Service. Today, about 34,600 trained volunteers help more than 2.6 million taxpayers file their taxes annually. Tax-Aide is open to anyone, even non-AARP members, though it gives special attention to low- and moderate-income people 60 and older.

In North Carolina, about 1,200 volunteers are working in roughly 100 sites set up in shopping centers, senior centers, libraries and churches across the state through April 18, said volunteer Jim Spicer, the state director of North Carolina's Tax-Aide program. AARP North Carolina volunteers processed close to 44,500 tax returns last year and hope to process even more this year, said Spicer.

Tax-Aide's free service draws many people to the program who cannot afford to spend the $85 or more that tax preparers charge, Spicer said.

"This gives them a place to come to, and they feel confident that we know what we are doing because we are certified," Spicer said.

Volunteers undergo training and must pass a certification test administered through the IRS before they are allowed to process tax forms. Often, a new Tax-Aide volunteer will work with a veteran preparer before working independently, Spicer said. Volunteers are trained to file the standard federal and state tax forms. Those who work near the Virginia and South Carolina borders also are trained about tax laws in those states.

Justice, 48, said she has returned to Tax-Aide year after year not just because it is free, but also because the Tax-Aide volunteers are quick and thorough. The volunteers found tax credits and exemptions for Justice that the paid tax preparer never mentioned.

Margaret and James Keener of Penrose have used Tax-Aide's services for the past eight years. Before that, the couple paid a company to prepare their taxes.

"They give you a lot of time. You aren't rushed when you go in," said Keener, 81. "When you leave, it is completed. It makes it just easier. One trip will do it."

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

The Cheap Life

Jeff Yeager Cheap Life Ultimate Cheapskate AARP YouTube web series save money

Catch the latest episode of The Cheap Life starring Jeff Yeager, AARP's Ultimate Cheapskate. Watch

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

membership benefit financial college aarp

Advice on saving for education from AARP® College Savings Solutions from TIAA-CREF.

AARP Credit card from Chase

Members can get cash back rewards on purchases with the AARP® Credit Card from Chase.

member benefit aarp financial service auto insurance

AARP® Auto Insurance Program from The Hartford offers members no-cost quotes.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Advance your skills. Transform your career.

Explore your learning possibilities.