AARP offers free tax assistance through April 15

5 months 3 weeks 5 days ago Sunday, February 16 2020 Feb 16, 2020 Sunday, February 16, 2020 9:44:00 AM CST February 16, 2020 in News
By: Kathryn Merck, KOMU 8 Reporter

COLUMBIA - The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) is offering confidential help with income and property taxes to people with low incomes in mid-Missouri.

Taxpayer assistance will be available at three primary locations in mid-Missouri, according to the Daniel Boone Regional Library. This includes the Callaway Senior Center, the Salvation Army, and the Columbia Public Library. 

Lauren Williams, the Adult and Community Services Manager for the Columbia Public Library, says the AARP volunteers provide individuals with low incomes the opportunity to get the help they need. 

“The volunteers are highly trained and provide great service, so it really fills a need for people in our community who can't afford to pay for tax assistance," said Williams.

According to the AARP's website, the AARP Tax-Aide program runs under a cooperative agreement with the IRS. This means that the AARP will not share information with anyone except as necessary to file tax returns as accurately as possible. 

“The AARP volunteers use specialized computer software that allows for confidentiality during the sessions,” said Williams

Last year, AARP volunteers filed 2,232 returns at the Columbia Public Library. The library had the most tax assistance of all the mid-Missouri locations. Based on an estimated cost of $125 per return, Tax-Aide volunteers saved local patrons more than $275,000.

The volunteers have been providing service at the library for more than a decade, helping the library reach people they are not normally able to help.

“While library staff can provide assistance helping people navigate websites, finding tax forms to print, our staff is not qualified to provide one-on-one counceling that the AARP is able to provide for us,” said Williams. 

The Salvation Army in Columbia will hold sessions Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays from 11 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. 

Callaway Senior Center, which will hold sessions Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 12 p. m. until April 15.

The Columbia Public Library will hold the most sessions: Mondays, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., and Wednesdays, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday mornings, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

If Columbia Public Schools close for inclement weather, the day's tax aid session will be cancelled.

The library will have limited quantities of basic federal forms from the IRS. They are available to participants at no cost. 

No appointments are necessary and sessions run on a first come, first serve basis.

A full list of the forms needed when visiting an AARP Tax-Aide is available on the AARP's website.

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