Help Boost the Economy with the AARP Tax Aide Program

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Projects will occur throughout Thurston County on Septmeber 30 and October 1.

Submitted by United Way of Thurston County

Just after we pack up another year, the AARP Tax Aide program steps into high gear! The program provides free tax assistance to seniors and low and middle income families. The benefits help all parties involved. Volunteers help citizens receive the tax refund they deserve, clients receive money for essential needs and the economy gets a boost from purchases that would not occur without the tax refund.

At nearly 50 years old, the AARP Tax Aide program began with only 100 volunteers. Now nationwide it has grown to 35,000 participants with 2.5 million seniors and families helped in an average season. This makes Tax Aide one of the most successful volunteer programs in the United States.

Locally, in 2014, the AARP Tax Aide program branches in Lewis, Mason and Thurston Counties, processed 3500 client returns with refunds averaging $1400 per family! A tax refund can make all the difference to a household struggling to make ends meet. Most refunds are utilized for essentials like home or car repairs, basic needs or help with a move. Tax refunds ensure a healthy stream of revenue into our communities. When checks were received in 2015, the program ultimately funneled $3,243,152.00 to help boost our local economies, as well as infused financial security to those who receive them.

The AARP Tax Aide program offers numerous benefits for volunteers as well. If you enjoy working with people or numbers, or have adept computer skills volunteering as a Tax Aide is a great opportunity. FREE training takes place in January. Volunteers learn about IRS tax forms, the latest tax software, and the eligibility and benefits for potential tax credits individuals may be entitled to receive. Computer skills are essential, as well as having access to a computer for homework, some tax prep knowledge is a bonus and you must pass the IRS Advanced test to become an AARP Tax Aide. Here’s is an added benefit: volunteers who complete training can utilize this opportunity as a springboard to a new career path.

Interested volunteers can learn more at orientation that is being held this Thursday, December 10th from 1p-3p at The Olympian located at 111 Bethel St. NE in downtown Olympia, 98506 or December 30th 10a-12N Economic Development Council/SPSCC Lacey Campus at 4220 6th Ave SE, Lacey, WA 98503.

Training will be held 8 full days scheduled for January 4, 6, 8, 11, 13, 15, 20 and 22. Class is approximately 7 hours each day with homework assignments each week. Training sites will be provided once secured. All training materials are provided. Volunteers work together as a team. There’s no need to be an AARP member or a retiree to participate, this opportunity is open to anyone interested in helping out.

Become part of our team, bringing peace of mind and economic benefits to many while making a making a difference in your own community. Please contact the AARP Tax Prep District Coordinator at (360) 269-5771 or or Jennifer Thompson, Volunteer Coordinator at United Way’s Retired & Senior Volunteer Program at 360-943-2773, ext. 21.

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