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AARP offering tax assistance thanks to volunteers

WORTHINGTON -- The local network of volunteers is gearing up for the beginning of tax season. AARP Foundation Tax-Aide offers free tax help to low- to moderate-income taxpayers, especially those who are age 60 and older.

"There are certain exclusions," explained Chuck Magyar, the volunteer coordinator of the local Tax-Aide program. "We don't do farm taxes, depreciation, things like that. ... But if they have basic taxes to file, we can help. We'll do stock income, pensions, Social Security benefits, wages -- all those standard things, we do."

All the Tax-Aide volunteers are trained and must pass an exam each year qualifying them for tax preparation.

"We've got 10 volunteers this year, the most we've ever had that I know of," said Magyar. "We've got four new people this year."

The Nobles County Integration Collaborative serves as the local sponsor for Tax-Aide, providing both the location and scheduling the appointments.

"We prefer that everyone make an appointment rather than walk in," stressed Magyar. "We will serve some people who walk in, but if we're busy, we're going to take the people with appointments first."

All appointments are scheduled between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Mondays from Feb. 4 through April 8 in Room 126 at the Collaborative. Due to President's Day on Feb. 18, the appointments will be on Feb. 19 that week. The volunteers also provide onsite tax services at some of the senior and low-income housing sites in town; information on those clinics is posted at the sites.

Tax-Aide serves an average of about 300 clients each tax season in Worthington. Last year, they served 325, according to Magyar.

"We saved many of those people quite a few dollars," he said.

"AARP does this primarily for seniors, but we're nondiscriminatory, so anybody can come. ... We get college students, we get everybody. A lot of people think they can't come because they're not old enough, but it is available to everybody."

For Tax-Aide appointments, taxpayers should bring the following documentation:

* A copy of last year's income tax return

* W-2 forms from each employer

* Unemployment compensation statements

* SSA-1099 form if you were paid Social Security benefits

* All 1099 forms (1099-INT, 1099-DIV, 1099-B, etc.) showing interest and/or dividends and documentation showing original purchase price of sold assets

* 1099-MISC showing any miscellaneous income

* 1099-R form if you received a pension or annuity

* All forms indicating federal income tax paid

* Dependent care provider information (name, employer ID, Social Security number)

* All receipts or canceled checks if itemizing deductions

* Social Security cards or other official documentation for yourself and all dependents

To schedule a Tax-Aide appointment, contact the Nobles County Integration Collaborative between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, 376-3300.

Daily Globe Features Editor Beth Rickers can be reached at 376-7327.

Beth Rickers

Beth Rickers is the veteran in the newspaper staff with 25 years as the Daily Globe's Features Editor. Interests include cooking, traveling and beer tasting and making with her home-brewing husband, Bryan. She writes an Area Voices blog called Lagniappe, which is a Creole term that means "a little something extra." It can be found at  

(507) 376-7327