Volunteers Needed to Train for Tax Season

The AARP Foundation's Tax-Aide program represents the nation's largest volunteer tax-preparation group. Photo Credit: Jeffery Salter/AARP Foundation Tax Aide

Suzanne Potter
California News Service

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Tax day is about six months away, but the AARP Foundation’s Tax-Aide program already is gearing up, recruiting volunteers to help people file their income-tax returns in the spring.

Volunteers are not required to have a background in finance, since they’ll receive Internal Revenue Service-certified training as well as classes on ethics and how to use the Tax-Aide software. Although most of the volunteers will help people file their state and local tax returns, said Rosa Maymi, national outreach manager for the Tax-Aide program, there are many other open positions.

“Folks can volunteer as Spanish-language translators or some of the Asian languages,” she said. “Folks also could be technologists, setting up computers at sites. Folks can be communications coordinators, where they can get the word out locally.”

Last year, California Tax-Aide locations had 2,800 volunteers across the state helping 185,000 people file their returns, resulting in $95 million in refunds. People don’t have to be AARP members or senior citizens to get the Tax-Aide assistance.

Across the country this past spring, Maymi said, 35,000 AARP volunteers helped 2.5 million Americans navigate the U.S. Tax Code and take advantage of all their deductions.

“AARP Foundation Tax-Aide got $1.37 billion in refunds and more than $220 million in Earned Income Tax Credits for taxpayers nationwide,” she said, adding that 2018 will be the 50th year the program has been in existence, having started with just four volunteers in 1968.