Anne Rowland had paid accountants and used online software for years to prepare her tax returns. But four years ago, Rowland tried an AARP Foundation Tax-Aide volunteer, and she hasn't looked back.
"Last time I had [a paid professional] prepare my return, it cost about $80. I thought it was pretty silly because my taxes are simple," said Rowland, 69, a retiree who lives in Albion.
See also: Cut your taxes for 2011.
Tax-Aide is the nation's largest free, volunteer-run tax preparation and assistance service. The program is targeted to low- and moderate-income taxpayers, with special attention to those 60 and older. But no one is turned away unless the tax situation is complex and beyond the scope of the tax preparers' training.
Rowland visits a Tax-Aide site at the senior center in Kendallville, where a volunteer completes her return in about 30 minutes.
"The people who are doing the taxes seem knowledgeable. That's why I keep going back," she said.
Volunteers will be available until April 17 at about 150 sites statewide in places such as libraries and senior centers.
Some sites take appointments; others work on a first-come, first-served basis, said Steve Vanderver, Tax-Aide coordinator in Evansville and incoming state coordinator.
Clients are asked to bring:
- Their 2010 tax return.
- All W-2 and 1099 forms, including ones for employment, pension, Social Security, annuities, interest income and dividend income.
- Information on dependents.
- Receipts or canceled checks for possible deductions, such as property tax payments and charitable contributions.
- Bank routing number and account number if they want refunds deposited directly into a bank account.
- A photo ID.