The program has been running in Clark County for 36 years and continues through a pandemic
CLARK COUNTY – Charles Humble helped a single mother file her taxes. She had her children with her and it was a challenge, but they made it. When she saw her return, her eyes filled with tears of joy. It was thousands of dollars.
“I can finally fix my car,” she said.
Graphic courtesy of the AARP Foundation
The entire process of getting her tax relief still works today and is 100 percent free for anyone who needs it.
“The gratitude that even people who are just ordinary people are just so relieved to do their taxes and know that they are being done right,” said Humble, who is now a representative on the program. “We have people who have been coming back every year for 15 years and they just count on it.”
The AARP Foundation’s Tax Aide program is accepting appointments for its free tax preparation and electronic filing. Due to the limitations of the COVID-19 pandemic, traditional face-to-face preparation with a tax aide advisor is being replaced with a contactless approach, but the process is still simple.
If you want assistance with tax preparation, you must first make an appointment. Appointments for taxpayers in Clark and Skamania counties can be requested by calling (360) 302-2641 and by leaving voicemail. A volunteer will call back to make an appointment. Assistance can also be requested through the AARP Foundation’s Tax Aide website at www.aarpfoundation.org/taxaide.
“We don’t have the number of volunteers that we have in the past, and that’s mainly because some people are just reluctant to even want to participate because of COVID,” said Humble. “We have no personal contact with the taxpayer. Unlike when we scan your documents for you, someone has to pick them up from you. ”
All tax preparation interactions with taxpayers are by phone and video call. The service is available until April 15th and is free. Tax-Aide can process most personal tax returns, with a few limited exceptions.
“Tax-Aide is a free service for anyone who needs help filling out and filing their tax returns electronically,” said Debbie Carroll, Washington Tax-Aide District 1 coordinator. “Our dedicated and certified volunteers receive the same high quality service as in the US past years offer, just in a different way, to accommodate COVID-19. “
AARP Foundation Tax-Aide is a voluntary organization whose tax advisors are trained and certified by the IRS. Last year, Tax-Aide volunteers helped more than 25,000 Washington taxpayers before all locations closed in mid-March. More than 1,700 of these were for local taxpayers.
“We had to close in mid-March,” said Humble. “So we lost about 30 days of tax season. Though we came back back in the summer and made more returns because they extended the tax deadline last year. “
AARP Foundation Tax-Aide operates the nation’s largest voluntary free tax preparation service. Volunteers are trained and IRS certified each year to ensure they understand the latest changes in US tax law.
In 2020, 1.5 million taxpayers who used the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide received income tax refunds of more than $ 1 billion. You also avoided tax preparation fees and parking spaces for high-yield tax credits or “refund loans”. The service is offered in conjunction with the IRS. AARP membership is not required.
“You bring your things, we do your taxes, we file your taxes, you pay nothing, you know it was done right, we send you away with your copy of your taxes,” said Humble. “It’s just a tremendous service to the church.”
Information from the AARP Foundation’s Tax Aide Program