AARP 'Tax-Aide' free service starts Feb. 5

Jan 24, 2013
Photo by: DeeAnna Haney James and Wanda West have their taxes prepared by an AARP volunteer, who declined to give his name.

Amidst fiscal cliffs, debt ceiling worries and calls for restraining federal government spending, the time has come to make one's annual contribution to Uncle Sam in the form of income tax returns. Some manage to handle the tax filing by themselves, some of  need the assistance of paid tax preparers, but in Haywood County there is another option. Once again,  the AARP Foundation will sponsor a free tax preparation program called TAX-AIDE.
Located at the  HART (Haywood Arts Regional Theatre) on Pigeon Street, adjacent to the Sheldon House, Haywood County TAX-AIDE will prepare and e-file a wide range of tax returns for low and moderate income citizens, giving special attention to senior citizens. The volunteer tax counselors at TAX-AIDE are trained and certified by the Internal Revenue Service. The program has an excellent record for accuracy in tax preparation.
TAX-AIDE cannot assist all taxpayers, due to the limitations imposed by the AARP Foundation and the IRS. Some examples of exclusions include taxpayers with rental property, self-employed taxpayers, who will incur a loss on their business activity, farmers, military, persons with income from limited partnerships other than interest, dividends and royalties, and employees claiming employee business expenses (Form 2106). Moving expenses, active clergy and state returns other than North Carolina are also beyond the scope of TAX-AIDE volunteers. Some of these exclusions will impact previous clients of Haywood County TAX-AIDE
For the vast majority of taxpayers in Western North Carolina, however, TAX-AIDE is equipped to prepare their Federal and North Carolina returns and e-file them immediately upon preparation. When a refund is due and the taxpayer wishes to have a direct deposit into a checking or savings account, the refund is normally deposited within seven to ten days following submission of the return.
The volunteers are on duty from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  Tuesdays and from 1 to 5 p.m. Wednesdays, from Feb. 5 to April 10, at the Haywood County site. Taxpayers are requested to bring the following documentation — income statements such as W-2s and 1099-R and the SSA-1099 from the Social Security Administration if receiving Social Security benefits; Social Security cards for the taxpayer, spouse and all dependents; documentation concerning deductions (if intending to itemize deductions); and a copy of the 2011 tax return.
Any taxpayers with a lump sum payment from Social Security should bring tax returns from all years covered by the lump sum payment. Taxpayers wishing to apply for non-business energy credits should be aware that the IRS will not provide the forms necessary to claim that credit until the end of February at the earliest. After April 1, the Haywood site will assist with amended returns and with past year filing.
For questions or further information, call Bob Walkup at 280-1278.

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