By Melody Vallieu
It’s tax time — and help is as close as the nearest library.
Tax-Aide, sponsored by the IRS and national AARP, is available locally in a five-county area. According to local coordinator Tom Beattie, Tax-Aide in this area serves residents of Miami, Shelby, Darke, Clark and Champaign counties.
Beginning Feb. 1, Tax-Aide sites were established throughout Miami County in such places as libraries, senior centers, the Miami Valley Centre Mall in Piqua and the YMCA in Piqua. Beattie said volunteers will set up in whatever public spaces organizations will offer. Most sites are set up to be available several times a week up until right before Tax Day, which is Monday, April 18 this year.
Beattie, who is in his fifth year of volunteering with Tax-Aide, said he became part of the program because he enjoyed doing his own taxes.
“I wanted to help people, that is why I got involved,” he said. “It gives people a place to get their taxes done. If they are getting a couple hundred dollars back and it’s taken up in in fees for a service, that’s not good.”
Beattie said while the program aims to help low- to moderate-income residents, they really can help most people. He said they can even help a small business owner fill out their Schedule C or can do capital gains for residents. He said volunteers can do federal, state of Ohio and school district taxes. Anyone with out-of-state needs for their state taxes would need to make other arrangements for those, Beattie said.
“Really there’s no age limit either,” he said.
The volunteers need those asking for help to bring their Social Security card, a picture ID and all information needed to file their taxes. All taxes are completed by computer and processed by E-file, he said.
Beattie said for each return prepared, the person will get a paper copy to take home for their files.
Beattie said each year many sites do more than a hundred sets of taxes for residents, while bigger cities like Troy and Piqua can do up to 250 in the two and a half months the help is offered.
He said they are always looking for volunteers to help prepare the taxes — and most are retired people, he said. He said new volunteers take classes for six days each January, while returning volunteers take three days’ worth of classes.
Those interested in volunteering can visit the AARP website at http://www.aarp.org/money/taxes/aarp_taxaide/, call Beattie at (937) 778-0339 or talk to someone at one of the sites in the county.