AARP volunteers to offer tax assistance

 

For the first time in Colusa, the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program will provide local volunteers to help Colusa County residents file their taxes.

The free service will be offered at the Colusa Assembly of God Church.

“There is no charge,” said church member Dick Johnson of Meridian. “We have five preparers that have been certified, so we are all ready to go.”

Johnson said free tax preparation is given to anyone who needs it, but priority will be given to people 50 years and older, and to those who have very low to moderate income.

Johnson said the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide service is offered in conjunction with the IRS, and the Volunteer Protection Act requires volunteer preparers to stay within the scope of the tax law set by the IRS for the program.

“We are trained to assist people in filing many income tax forms and schedules,” he said. “There are just a few situations where our volunteers may be unable to provide assistance.”

AARP volunteer tax preparers will be able to help filing wages, interest, dividends, capital gains/loses, unemployment compensation, pensions and other retirement income, and Social Security benefits. The can help self-employed individuals only if there are no employees, inventory or losses, or other complicating factors.

They can also file 1099 miscellaneous income, itemize deductions (including non-cash contributions less than $5,000), repayment of first-time homebuyer credits, and most other credits such as earned income, education credits, child tax credits and retirement savings credit.

They can also file amendments and prior tax year returns.

Johnson said AARP volunteers will not be able to prepare complicated returns, such as self-employment expenses that exceed $25,000; complicated capital gains/loses, such as futures and options; and income from rental property, farms, or royalties.

Volunteers will provide tax assistance on Wednesday and Thursday at the Assembly of God Church, 1747 Hwy. 20, Colusa. Call (530) 454-5131 for appointment.

Volunteers will be available for tax assistance through April 16. Walk-in appointments may be possible, but priority will always be given to senior citizens, Johnson said.

The group may also try to eventually work in Saturday appointments.

“We’re just not there yet,” he said.

Johnson said their goal is for 100 percent accepted returns, with “zero errors.”

“There has been no other place in Colusa that does this,” he said. “We’re just happy to be able to do it.” ■