Free Tax-Aide program helps seniors - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Free Tax-Aide program helps seniors

Dan Page, District Coordinator for AARP Tax-Aide Program in Amarillo Dan Page, District Coordinator for AARP Tax-Aide Program in Amarillo
Pete Costilla Pete Costilla

The Amarillo Area AARP Tax-Aide program is offering free tax preparation and advice. 

Services will be beginning nation-wide in February, and programs will be in Amarillo, Tulia, and Hereford this week.

For almost 50 years the program has helped seniors and low to moderate income families who need assistance filing or want their taxes checked before they file them; however, they do not assist those with major tax write-offs.

"There are certain things that we call out of scope that we can't do," said Dan Page, the District Coordinator for the AARP Tax-Aide Program. "We don't do a business return for instance, we do hobby business, small business, babysitting, that type of thing, but we don't do a big business."

Each tax preparer is certified to assist with tax returns and is a volunteer for the program. Page said in years past they have helped write-off medical expenses, but this the first year they're dealing with larger health care penalties, like the Affordable Care Act. 

"The penalty comes in and in some cases they get some money refunded because of the way the system works," Page said. "They can get part of their cost underwritten by the government and if it's figured wrong they may get some money back on that."

The program's users said not having to pay a fee helps a lot, especially when a tax return is a low amount. 

"I'm on a fixed income so, it's hard for me to go to like H&R Block because they charge quite a bit," said Pete Costilla. 

Costilla has been using the program for the last for years and feels he can trust the volunteers working for the AARP.

"They're real good at it," Costilla said. "I seen the same lady that done mine a couple times, so I trust them and they're real good, [they] help out the community real good."

Anyone interested in the service should bring their W-2 form, 10-99s, social security documents, and personal identification of everyone on the return.

According to the IRS, those who were enrolled in the Marketplace (Affordable Care Act) should receive a 1095-A form, those who enrolled in individual coverage or a government sponsored plan will receive a 1095-B form, and those who receive health coverage from their employers will receive a 1095-C form. 

This year, Tax Day has been extended to April 18, because Emancipation Day is being observed on April 15 instead of April 16. Therefore, Tax Day has been extended to the following Monday giving taxpayers and extra weekend getting their returns in order. 

AARP's program will be at the Amarillo North Branch Library, located at 1500 NE 24th Ave. Assistance will be available on Mondays and Tuesdays from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. 

Amarillo Senior Center, located at 1217 South Tyler Street. Assistance will be available Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. 

The Hereford Senior Center, located at 426 Ranger Street. Those needing assistance should register for an appointment by calling Wanda at 806-364-5681. 

Tulia: Appointments can be made by calling Gloria at 806-342-6163 or Crystal at 806-364-5681. 

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