BY BARRY WARNER
There are many Rockland County residents who do not have the resources to adequately prepare their 2017 tax returns. The assistance of AARP Tax-Aide volunteers help taxpayers comply with tax laws and receive refunds quickly. AARP Tax-Aide is a free volunteer-run tax counseling and preparation service offered to all taxpayers earning middle and low incomes, with special attention to those individuals aged 60 and over.
“I go to training every year to learn the new IRS strategies in preparing the latest tax returns. While preparing the 2017 returns are time consuming , I use IRS publications #17 and #4012 for guidance. I have been doing returns for about five years and enjoy meeting new people and giving back to the community. Taxes are prepared by using an IRS provided, web-based electronic tax program. The return is e-filed and the client receives a copy of the return,” Ann Hollinger told the Rockland County Times. “The earned income tax credit or EITC is a refundable tax credit for low to moderate income working individuals and couples, particularly those with children. Each preparer is supported on-site by an experienced supervisor who can answer questions and who performs a quality review of all of the tax returns.”
Partners in the United Way’s CASH (Creating Assets, Savings and Hope) initiative include AARP, the IRS and the Salvation Army, in addition to numerous non-profit organizations in Rockland County. During this tax season, Rockland County residents benefit from a free program to assist income-eligible families in filing their 2017 taxes and secure their child care tax credits or EITC at a time when the gap between take-home wages and essential expenses are growing rapidly. CASH is a nationwide program that has lifted more than 9 million people out of poverty, half of them children.
United Way’s President and CEO Dana Treacy said, “The goal is to increase the EITC or child care tax credit dollar number every year. Each year, over $1 million is returned to Rockland County and the need for income tax relief is more urgent than ever. Not only do the refunds bring added relief to struggling residents, but most dollars are spent in the County and support the local economy.”
According to supervising volunteer Carole Meehan, 2017 tax returns are being prepared for clients at numerous locations in the county during weekday daytime hours and on Saturdays. Tax preparers were trained in January 2018 for the 11 week tax season that runs from February 1 – April 17.
The intake counselor or greeter assists clients by reviewing their tax paperwork to determine if they have all the necessary documents to complete their returns with the AARP Tax-Aide preparers. These Greeters manage the flow of people through the tax preparation site asking clients to sign in, helping them to organize their documents and seeing that clients are directed to the next available preparer.
Clients must bring with them:
. Copy of Federal and State Tax Returns filed last year.
. W-2 forms from each employer.
. Unemployment compensation statements.
. SSA-1099 form if paid Social Security benefits.
. All 1099 forms (1099-INT, 1099-DIV, 1099-B etc.) showing interest and/or dividends and documentation showing original purchase price of sold assets.
. 1099-misc showing any miscellaneous income.
. 1099-R form if pension or annuity was received.
. 1095-A form if Health Insurance was bought at the Marketplace.
. All forms indicating federal income tax paid.
. Dependent care provider form (name, employer, ID SSN).
. All receipts or canceled checks if itemizing deductions.
. Social Security cards or other official documentation for filer and all dependents.
Assistance is on a ‘first come-first serve’ basis and no appointments are necessary. Proof of identity, such as a valid driver’s license or other government issued picture ID, is required for a return to be completed. For a list of tax sites, call the United Way’s 211 helpline for assistance or 845-358-8929.