Free income tax return preparation and electronic filing, for both state and federal returns, will be available again this year for Mountain Area residents, offered by the AARP Tax-Aide program.
Last year, the program prepared and filed more than 550 tax returns for Madera County residents, with 300 of them for Mountain Area residents.
Tax help is offered to persons of all ages and you do not have to be a senior citizen, or a member of AARP (American Association of Retired Persons), to receive the services of experienced, specially trained and certified AARP tax volunteers. Volunteers prepared first time tax returns for several 17 and 18-year-old students last year who had their first jobs.
Returns are prepared on site and then electronically filed the same day.
Services are available 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Tuesdays between Feb. 6 and April 17 (which is the last day for filing tax returns this year) at the Oakhurst Library Community Room. Two Saturdays, with the same hours, are available, Feb. 24 and March 17 to make the services more accessible for families and working adults.
Appointments are required and can be made by calling Brian Ross. (559) 285-1494. Persons seeking appointments are urged to call early, as last year the program was not able to accommodate everyone who called and had to turn people away.
The Eastern Madera County program has been headed by Jerry Ephraim for more than 30 years. Ephraim is presently serving as regional coordinator for California Tax-Aide District 3, a large area which extends from Modesto in the north to Bakersfield in the south, and from San Jose and Monterey in the west to Sonora and Barstow in the east.
Tax Aide services are also offered on Thursdays in the City of Madera, at the Annex to the First Southern Baptist Church, 711 Nebraska Avenue. There will be one day of services in Chowchilla as well. Appointments may be made for these sites by calling Sarah Titus, (559) 706-1868.
Although Ephraim has handed the day-to-day duties in Oakhurst and Madera to Darlene Kelly, Ephraim will still be present on most return preparation days in Oakhurst to lend a hand and to meet and greet his long-time clients and friends.
AARP Tax-Aide is the nation’s largest free, volunteer-run tax assistance and preparation service available to taxpayers with low and moderate income, with special attention to those age 60 and older. Over 33,000 AARP Tax-Aide volunteers, trained in cooperation with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), now help more than 2 million taxpayers file their federal, state, and local tax returns each year at nearly 7,000 AARP Tax-Aide sites nationwide.