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AARP Tax-Aide helps filing tax returns
Free services available at area libraries and community center
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Evelyn Gainous shows Cindy Harrelson how to quality check her past tax submissions Saturday at the Community Service Center in Gainesville. Gainous has been volunteering for five years, while this is Harrelson’s first day helping others file their taxes. - photo by Erin O. Smith

AARP FOUNDATION TAX-AIDE

Gainesville Community Service Center

When: 3-7 p.m. Wednesdays; and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays, March 12 and April 2

Where: 430 Prior St. SE, Gainesville

Contact: 888-227-7669

Cost: Free

Hall County Library, Murrayville branch

When: 1-4 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays

Where: 4796 Thompson Bridge Road, Gainesville

Contact: 770-532-3311, ext. 171

Cost: Free

Hall County Library, Spout Springs branch

When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesdays

Where: 6488 Spout Springs Road, Gainesville

Contact: 770-532-3311, ext. 191

Cost: Free

More information: www.aarp.org/money/taxes/aarp_taxaide

Filing taxes can be confusing and getting help can be expensive.

But AARP is offering help at locations throughout Hall County, and the help is free.

The Gainesville Community Service Center at 430 Prior St. SE and the Hall County Library branches at 4796 Thompson Bridge Road and 6488 Spout Springs Road all have weekly hours offering AARP Foundation Tax-Aide.

“AARP is preparing taxes at no charge here at the Community Service Center,” said Karina Costantini from the center. “They are open every Wednesday from 3-7 p.m., and they will be open a few more Saturdays as well.”

Costantini said from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays, March 12 and April 2, the services will be available. No appointments are needed.

AARP Foundation Tax-Aide is a volunteer-based program offered since 1968. In its nearly 50 years of operation, it has helped nearly 50 million low- to moderate-income taxpayers file properly.

All volunteers are IRS-certified, and any information shared is confidential.

Gerry Wharton, a retired accountant who volunteers at the Murrayville branch, said he does it because of the essential help he can offer others through the program. He estimates nearly 300 people come to the Murrayville location alone for help with their taxes each year.

“They cannot necessarily afford to pay the enormous tax preparation charges like at some of the places you can go,” Wharton said. “To me, that’s something worthwhile volunteering for. Most of them are on Social Security and have limited income, so it helps them to save a little bit of money, getting their taxes filed for free.”

Though the service is offered with elderly and low-income residents in mind, anyone is welcome to take advantage of the opportunity.

“It’s on a first-come, first-served basis,” Costantini said. “And sometimes people, when they think of AARP, they think of older adults, but they don’t have an age restriction for this.”

She added AARP will electronically file the taxes on site and will help with federal and state forms.

Brian Hood, manager of the Murrayville library branch, said appointments are needed at the Murrayville branch, to ensure everyone is served efficiently.

“It’s sort of like H&R Block setting up at a Wal-Mart,” he said. “We have appointments from  1-4 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays. When you make the appointment you only have to give a name and a phone number, but they ask you to bring your spouse with you, for joint filing and so forth.”

Meanwhile, the Spout Springs library branch takes walk-ins from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesdays.

But the help isn’t limited to Hall County. Eight total locations in Northeast Georgia offer the services. There’s no fee, no sales pitch for other services and AARP membership is not required.

Those interested should remember to bring a photo ID, a W-2 from each employer and all relevant income documentation.

If filers are interested in direct depositing any refund, they should bring their checkbook.

For more information, a full list of necessary documents and a location finder, go to www.aarp.org/money/taxes/aarp_taxaide.

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