Free Tax Preparation Help from AARP
Purple, green and gold may be the colors of Mardi Gras, but you'll be thinking all green (as in cash) when you take advantage of free tax preparation help from volunteers from the AARP Foundation.
- by Wendy Sullivan
To register for the program, go to the desk at the Kiln, Waveland, or Bay St. Louis libraries and ask for the tax program’s information packet. Inside the packet, you’ll find information on how to sign up for an appointment and what you’ll need to bring to the appointment.
The library staff and volunteers cannot answer tax questions – save those for your time with the trained preparer. Assistance will be provided by appointment only; walk-ins will not be accepted.
Although the Kiln library has served as a location for appointments in the past, only the Waveland location will be hosting the program this year.
Site Manager Charles Gallagher said he and his volunteer team of five are hoping to be able to serve more than 300 taxpayers this year. In 2021, even with COVID restrictions in place, the program prepared and submitted 175 federal tax returns and 86 Mississippi state tax returns for a total of $192,000 in refunds.
“Covid-19 has limited us greatly in the amount of service we can provide,” said Gallagher, “but preparers and other volunteers have been trained and are ready for the challenges the 2022 tax year may bring.”
For the safety of all, Covid-19 protocols will be followed, and masks will be required.
The program is always looking for new volunteers, and not all volunteers need to prepare tax returns. For those who do want to prepare them, the IRS provides a free online training program that begins in September of each year for the next tax season.
Volunteers who want to help in 2023 can sign up at this link. They will be contacted by the local team to get the ball rolling.
Judy Reeves, who's been preparing taxes as a volunteer with the program for more than 25 years, isn't sure how long the program's even been operating in Hancock County. "A long, long time," said Reeves. "But we always need more volunteers!"
Although not as exciting as Mardi Gras, tax season is an annual event that is best not ignored. The AARP Foundation volunteers and staff provide a valuable service to the community by offering these free tax preparation sessions. If you need help completing your returns, this program is a great resource.
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