AARP Tax-Aide volunteers: ‘Fun, satisfying,’ and much-needed

Jan 11th, 2023 | By | Category: Personal Finance/Consumers

By Bruce Carlson 

AARP Foundation Tax-Aide service will be back providing in-person service for 2023 and is looking for compassionate and friendly people throughout Washington to join the team.

Volunteers serve as tax counselors with AARP Foundation’s Tax-Aide.

The services, which are open to anyone but are especially for people 60 and older and for those with low to moderate incomes, provide on-site service at libraries, community centers, senior centers, and other local facilities. There are no fees or sales pitches for the service, and AARP membership isn’t required.

The IRS works with Tax-Aide to make sure all tax counselors have the knowledge they need to accurately file returns. But volunteers don’t need a financial background to get involved.

“We’re emphasizing that volunteering doesn’t necessarily mean doing tax preparation,” said Cindy Gossett, a Seattle resident who is th volunteer Washington State Tax-Aide coordinator. “We have a number of other jobs that don’t involve preparing returns, such as public relations, greeters, managing our technology, and leadership positions of all types.”

More than 200,000 taxpayers were helped in Washington in 2019, the last year of in-person service due to the pandemic. Over 51,000 federal returns were filed and $4 million in refunds were obtained.

Tax-Aide operates the nation’s largest volunteer-run, free tax preparation service, and it’s the fourth largest tax return service of any type, paid or free.

“There are so many seniors and low-income people that need that kind of help. And if they have to go to a paid preparer, it’s very expensive,” said volunteer tax preparer Ron Yaden of Tacoma. “I would say 99 percent of the people we serve are extremely happy with our service at Tax-Aide. So it’s fun, it’s satisfying, and we are a pretty friendly group of volunteers. I’m always recruiting.”

“I absolutely love volunteering for Tax-Aide. It’s a great way to meet people and provide a service,” said Debby Ryan of Spokane. As a greeter, “I help check people in, make sure they’ve got the proper forms and that everything is ready.”

To find out more about this opportunity, email aarpwa@aarp.org, go online at aarp.org/taxaide, or call (888-227-7669.

 

Bruce Carlson is an associate state director of communications for AARP.

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