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Local Tax-Aide volunteers bring big dollars to region

The Mid-Columbia/North Central Oregon AARP Tax-Aide program, administered by the AARP Foundation in cooperation with the IRS, reported strong participation and results for the 2012 Income Tax season. From Feb. 1 to April 15, 36 community volunteers, including 10 client facilitators and 26 IRS trained tax preparers, helped local tax payers file their annual returns from seven different sites in Hood River, Wasco, Sherman, and Klickitat counties.

Before the tax season began, volunteers completed a comprehensive IRS training program on tax preparation and passed several competency exams to demonstrate their knowledge and expertise in preparing federal and state income tax returns.

Volunteers donated over 3,500 man hours training, welcoming clients, conducting client interviews, preparing federal and state tax returns, applying quality reviews, and filing these returns in timely and accurate manner.

The program prepared approximately 1,400 federal tax returns and 1,300 state tax returns.

Local AARP tax-aide program participants received $1.81 million in federal tax refunds, monies, that when returned to the community, help to fuel the local economy.

Participants received $51,000 in Education Tax Credits, $486,000 in Child Tax Credits, and $526,000 in Earned Income Tax Credits. Other program participants owed federal taxes, as $160,000 was identified as outstanding income tax balances, monies that bolster the Federal Treasury, pay to operate federal agencies, and mitigate the nation’s debt. About 48 percent of those participating in the tax-aid program were age 60 and above.

The AARP Tax-Program celebrated its 45th year of providing free income tax assistance to low and moderate-income taxpayers, with special attention to those age 60 or older.

As in years past, the AARP Tax-Aid program relies on the generous support of local community centers. The Hood River County Library, the Hood River Valley Adult Center, the Klickitat County Senior Services, the Rufus Community Center, the Canyon Rim Manor, the Mid-Columbia Senior Center, and the Tygh Valley Community Center all served as site locations, allowing easy access and providing essential infrastructure in order for the AARP Tax-Aid Program to be successful.

If you are interested in being a Tax-Aide volunteer next year, please contact the AARP at 1-888-AARP-NOW (1-888-227-7669) or via the AARP Tax-Aide website at www.aarp.org/taxaide.

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