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May 27, 2024 6:02 pm

Local News

Last-minute free tax prep provided for procrastinators in Pennsylvania

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Danielle Smith, Public News Service

In less than a week, Pennsylvania residents who need assistance in filing their income-tax returns can use the free services of the AARP Foundation’s Tax-Aide program. You don’t have to be an AARP member or a senior citizen to get help.

Francis Tremel, Pennsylvania state coordinator for the program, said while Tax-Aide volunteers assist people of all ages, their main focus is on serving individuals with low to moderate incomes.

“Last year, over 1.5 million Tax-Aide participants nationwide saved more than $1.1 million in refunds and credits. I work also at the Indiana office,” Tremel said. “And we will do 1,200 returns this year, which is a very significant number for individuals that really need the assistance.”

Tremel emphasized the volunteers are trained and IRS-certified to ensure they are caught up on the latest changes to the Tax Code. He added that volunteers can help in most cases, but the only restriction would be if a return is very complicated, such as a business return that has depreciation.

Tax-Aide is a full-service tax program that assists Pennsylvanians with federal, state and local returns and the Pennsylvania tax rebate program, and he explained that the program offers several options for taxpayers to get assistance.

“Obviously the in-person is probably the most popular, at least here in western Pennsylvania,” he continued. “And we also have a drop-off service that has a very specific set of guidelines set up to assure taxpayer privacy and confidentiality of their documents.”

Tremel said Tax-Aide also offers online coaching, facilitated self-assistance and self-preparation where taxpayers prepare their own return using a software product made available through the website. Pennsylvanians can find the closest site at AARPfoundation.org/TaxAide.

This article originally appeared on Public News Service and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.