It’s time again to file income taxes, and the help is free

It’s time again to file income taxes, and the help is free

By Christina Clem

There are few constants in life, but there is something that happens like clockwork every year. That’s right. Tax season is upon us. Fortunately, AARP Foundation is providing free tax assistance and preparation through its Tax-Aide program, the nation’s largest free tax assistance and preparation service.

The program was conceived in 1968 by four volunteers who prepared 100 income tax returns at one site. Today, trained volunteers serve low to moderate-income taxpayers at thousands of locations in neighborhood libraries, malls, banks, community centers, and senior centers nationwide. There’s no fee, and AARP membership isn’t required. Almost anyone can receive free assistance. Those with particularly complex issues and complicated returns are encouraged to seek professional services.

Tax-Aide offers several tax preparation options, as well as the traditional in-person service. One popular option is the Drop-Off Model, where taxpayers come to a site with all their paperwork and return later to sign and pick up their completed return. Tax-Aide also provides taxpayers with free access to software so they can prepare their own taxes. Taxpayers can also request help from a Tax-Aide, IRS-certified counselor to coach them through the process through computer screen-sharing. 

“Every year, Tax-Aide helps tens of thousands of Washingtonians,” said Marguerite Ro, AARP Washington state director. “Whether you are a working or retired individual, our volunteers can help answer your questions and prepare your tax returns.”

For the 2023 tax season, 26,000 volunteers helped more than 1.5 million taxpayers receive over $1 billion in refunds.

Tax-Aide volunteers receive extensive training to ensure they know about and understand the latest changes to the U.S. Tax Code. Tax-Aide is offered in cooperation with the IRS.

Before visiting a Tax-Aide site, please note:

  • You will need to bring your important documents to the site.
  • Federal Tax assistance is available at all locations.
  • Site hours are subject to change on a weekly basis. Check again the day before you plan to go to the site.

To find an AARP Foundation Tax-Aide site or get more information, including a comprehensive list of documents to bring to the tax site, visit or call 1-888-227-7669.

The due date for the U.S. individual income tax return is April 15.

Christina Clem is a communications specialist for AARP Washington.