John Jaques/The Pueblo Chieftain via AP; Additional photos, courtesy volunteers
For more than half a century, AARP volunteers have helped tens of millions of low- and moderate-income Americans file their taxes — free of charge. More than 35,000 trained, eager volunteers will take up the challenge again this year, beginning in early February, at nearly 5,000 sites across the country. This force will include people who have many years of experience helping others deal with the aggravation of tax season. Here are a few of their stories.
Lori Gannon, 68 Gaylord, Michigan
"I did my mother's taxes, and when I moved farther away, she tried to do them herself and was simply overwhelmed. I'm glad to be able to ease that stress for others."
Gary Jurovich, 73, Rocklin, California
"About four years ago a new client who had recently been divorced and had three children living with her came to us for help. I was able to prepare her federal and state returns and get approximately $7,000 in refunds. She was overcome with emotion."
Eugene Varela, 70, Santa Fe, New Mexico
"I enjoy meeting and helping people from the community and surrounding areas. I worked with an older deaf couple who always find it a challenge to get their taxes done. They were extremely grateful for the help."
Tax-Aide by the Numbers
The AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program began in 1968 and has helped over 68 million people. In 2019:
- 1.6 million returns filed
- 2,517,523 people helped
- $1.4 billion in refunds
Barbara Wimbush, 67 La Plata, Maryland
"The smiles you get from clients and the needed hugs you give a widow or widower let you know you're doing the right thing. We laugh and cry together."
John Woods, 72, Falmouth, Massachusetts
"On my first day working with the program, my second client was a woman with three teenage children. The next week she brought back all three children. Not only did I do their returns; I also had a chance to talk with them about education tax credits — and maybe it would not be as hard as they thought to put together money for college. I was hooked."
Find a Tax-Aide location near you or call 888-227-7669.