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Free AARP tax-aide service helps people complete their tax returns

Since the beginning of February, tax-aide volunteers have come to the Stanly County Senior Center on Tuesday and Thursday mornings to help people complete their tax returns.

The tax-aide service is provided by AARP and the trained volunteers help up to 18 people a day, said Walt Deppe, local coordinator of the program. The tax-aide service is also completely free for the public.

The service will run each Tuesday and Thursday morning until April 11, said Deppe.

The service can help anyone with tax returns, but the program especially caters to people over 50 and with incomes of less than $50,000, Deppe said.

People call the tax-aide number, which is 704-986-3813, and schedule an appointment for Tuesday or Thursday.

A trained greeter signs people in, helps them fill out an intake/interview form and several consent forms and conducts a basic interview to make sure the forms are properly filled out and the people have the proper documentation.

The people then wait to meet with the preparers who review the information and then enter it into the computers, which calculates everything. Another preparer is present to perform a quality review to make sure the person’s tax return is accurate.

The whole process takes about an hour and a half, Deppe said.

The volunteer preparers go through 24 hours of training plus working through practice problems to prepare for helping the people, Deppe said.

New preparers are monitored the first several times they complete tax returns to make sure they are accurately completing them.

Besides being the local coordinator, Deppe is also a trained preparer.

The volunteer greeters complete a three-hour program before they can start working.

The tax-aide services have been available at the senior center for more than 30 years, Deppe said. He has been helping for 15 years.

Deppe enjoys volunteering because “it’s a service to the people that come in to have their taxes done.”

Walt Deppe is the local coordinator that helps to set up the AARP tax-free services.

“This is a great program in that it saves the citizens, especially the seniors, a lot of money each year,” said Becky Weemhoff, director of Stanly County Senior Service. “You’rekeeping money in their pockets.”

“I like the friendliness of the volunteers and it saves me money,” added Betty Almond, who has been coming to the senior center to complete her tax returns for the last five to six years.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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