CCLP/LYNETTE SOWELL - Mike Delaune, a certified tax aide with AARP, helps prepare taxes on Wednesday at the Copperas Cove Public Library.

Local AARP tax assistance not just for senior citizens

Cove Leader-Press
Despite the chilly start to the morning, there was a small line outside the Copperas Cove Public Library’s meeting room made up of those waiting for free tax assistance from the AARP.
Regardless of age or income status, those who would like free tax preparation are welcome to com out, said Shelly Landreth, the district coordinator for AARP’s Tax-Aide program in Central Texas. She along with a staff of volunteers spent Wednesday helping prepare and file 2015 federal income taxes for residents.
Landreth said the AARP has been providing the service to her district for well over two decades. The Central Texas district includes Temple, Harker Heights, Killeen, Copperas Cove, Lampasas, Burnet and Marble Falls. The AARP Tax-Aide volunteers are making their rounds throughout the area in the weeks leading up to the April 15 tax deadline.
In Copperas Cove, AARP will be at the library every Wednesday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., with those seeking tax preparation assistance receiving help on a first-come, first-served basis. AARP tax aide volunteers are all IRS-certified, Landreth said.
But what some might not know is that this tax assistance isn’t limited to AARP members or senior citizens.
“We will prepare taxes for anyone, not just senior citizens,” Landreth said. “We’ve had families come in. The only taxes we don’t prepare is for military.” She explained that on post, there are services for military families to file their taxes, but AARP wants to help fill in the gaps for those who don’t have access or funds for tax preparation assistance.
Landreth said before people come, they should make sure they bring everything they need along with them—Social Security numbers, photo identification, any W-2s, bank interest statements, as well as Affordable Care Act information.
Those who arrived for help with tax preparation checked in at the table and were given a form to complete, which helps the Tax-Aide volunteer when completing the online tax forms. When a tax return is completed, it is also doubled-checked by another certified tax preparer before it is transmitted. Those who electronically file their returns on site will also receive a printed paper copy of their completed return.
“Some of the older filers don’t have to file because they’re on Social Security and their income level is low enough not to, but they feel better about filing anyway, Landreth said.
All tax preparation volunteers are trained every January in tax preparation, informed of the latest changes and certified. Landreth said she begins recruiting for volunteer tax preparers in Deem each year.
Mike Delaune is one such AARP Tax-Aide volunteer who has been helping people prepare and file their taxes throughout Central Texas for nine years now.
A retired veteran, Delaune said he read about a call for volunteers in his church’s bulletin that first year, so thought it would be a good thing to do. Delaune is currently the Harker Heights site coordinator, but was working as a tax counselor on Wednesday in Copperas Cove.
AARP Foundation Tax-Aide offers free, individualized tax preparation for low-to moderate-income taxpayers, especially those 60 and older, at more than 5,000 locations nationwide.
AARP Tax-Aide volunteers will be at the Copperas Cove Public Library on February 10, 17, 24; March 2, 9, 16, 23, 30; and April 6 and 13.


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