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Palm Coast Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011 7 years ago

AARP offers free tax prep for residents

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by: Shanna Fortier Associate Editor

Starting Feb. 1, the AARP Tax-Aide will offer free appointment-only tax services at seven locations in Flagler County. The group helped 2,200 people last year.

Whether it be for charitable donations, the purchase of energy-efficient equipment or having children, figuring tax deductions and credits can give anyone a headache.
 

Residents in Flagler County need not stress over checking each and every credit by themselves.
 

Starting Feb. 1, the AARP Tax-Aide will open its doors to provide free tax services to the people of Flagler County.
 

Four to six tax preparers will set up shop at seven locations around the county for appointment-only preparations.
 

The AARP Tax-Aide program has been serving low-and-moderate-income taxpayers since 1968 and filed over 2,200 returns in Flagler County last year.
 

All the volunteers are IRS-certified, with renewed training and testing each year, said Margaret Campbell, local coordinator. There are no age restrictions to participate in this service, nor is there a requirement to be an AARP member, she added.
 

“There are so many needs for this in our county,” Campbell said. “About 60% of our clients are over 65. These people were not brought up with a computer and most of the people don’t know how to do it online.”
 

But this service is not just for the elderly. Young families are encouraged to take advantage of this free service, too, Campbell said. This year there is a big push for the Earned Income Tax Credit, which is for individuals and couples with children and who work and have low wages. The maximum credit is $5,666 for a person or couple with three or more qualifying children, according to www.irs.gov.
 

Tax preparation through Tax-Aide takes approximately one hour. Returns are e-filed and the taxpayer is sent home with a copy. But before the process is done, every return is quality reviewed by a second person from start to finish.
 

“The best preparer can make errors, and a second set of eyes can pick up any errors that are in there,” Campbell said.
 

Appointments are available until April 15 at all seven locations. For an appointment, call 313-4048. The line is staffed 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Only clients with appointments will be helped at the locations.

Contact Shanna Fortier at [email protected].
 

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