With federal and state income taxes due in less than a month, thousands of seniors and low-income families are scrambling for help to get the best deductions and file returns the right way.
But with the possibility of higher deductions often enclosed in a web of complex tax laws, many taxpayers could be losing out by paying more and getting less back.
For them and thousands of others, there's a free service to cut through it all: Tax-Aide from the AARP Foundation. They have 45 Metro Atlanta sites in libraries, parks, senior centers and churches, with 78 more across the state.
For Alice and Lawrence Johnson, Tax Aide has made a big difference.
“This is fantastic. Seniors have just so much money to spread around and this is a big help to us,” said Lawrence Johnson.
“I think anything that helps seniors is wonderful,” added his wife, Alice.
Last year Tax-Aide helped more than 60,000 taxpayers across Georgia, 20,000 of them in Metro Atlanta, saving them more than $10.5 million.
The door to Tax-Aide is open to a wide range of taxpayers.
“People over 50, AARP members and non-members. It makes no difference and low income and people who really need the help and cannot afford to pay a paid preparer,” said Alan Whithear, AARP Tax-Wise Georgia Coordinator.
If you are over 65, check first to see if you even have to file, but if you do, be sure to bring your Social Security Card. Although you can file this year with your Social Security statement, next year you must have your card.
To remind you, AARP is giving taxpayers a bright green reminder sheet to put with their tax records.
And taxpayers should bring withholding statements and receipts for deductions. The Tax-Aide IRS-certified counselors will take it from there.