CAMP VERDE - If it hadn't been for his Social Security, one Camp Verde resident wouldn't have made enough money in 2013 to pay for a meal at fast food junction.
"But we can help him get his property tax money back from the state," says Bruce George, an AARP Foundation Tax-Aide volunteer. "This is the kind of person I really like to help."
Nine years ago, Bruce started volunteering with the foundation. A year later, his wife Pat joined him.
For more than a decade, AARP's Tax-Aide volunteers have been helping the Verde Valley's low-to-middle income wage earners with their tax returns. Volunteers do not accept any money or tips for this service, Pat said.
Since the beginning of March, volunteers at the four sites in AARP's District 13 - Camp Verde Senior Center, Verde Valley Senior Center in Cottonwood, Sedona Public Library and the Thorpe Park Community Senior Center in Flagstaff - prepared more than 700 returns. At the Camp Verde Senior Center, volunteers have prepared nearly 300 of those returns.
"It's enjoyable to come here because they know what they're doing," said Camp Verde resident Will Adams. "I've been bringing my taxes here for four years. They do very good work."
Many of the Tax-Aide volunteers have been with this program for years, Pat said. "We do it because we care about the community. Our four sites have helped taxpayers to receive $596.556 in refunds as of March 1. This is money that goes back into our local economy and that is something we really need."
Eight years ago, Liz Roland answered a newspaper ad seeking Tax-Aide volunteers. For the past six years, Randy and Suzie Bruce of Camp Verde have been coming to the Camp Verde Senior Center so Roland can prepare their taxes.
"Liz always does a fantastic job," said Suzie Bruce. "She's all business, but friendly. She's wonderful."
The Camp Verde Senior Center has 19 AARP volunteers either certified to help prepare tax returns or as facilitators to help sign in taxpayers, check to verify identification and make sure that the required paperwork is ready for tax preparation.
After signing in, a certified counselor prepares the taxpayer's returns online to the server. After completion, a certified reviewer verifies that all data has been correctly entered. The returns are then electronically e-filed and all paperwork is returned to the taxpayer, along with copies of the federal and state return.
AARP volunteers maintain privacy of information of the taxpayers, follow non-discrimination policies and ensure the quality of help for clients, Pat said.
The Camp Verde Senior Center is located at 263 W. Maryvale Drive. Through April 15, volunteers will prepare taxes Tuesdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to noon and Saturdays from 8:45 a.m. to noon. For more information, call (928) 567-6356.
Posted: Friday, March 21, 2014
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We do tax returns for all ages and not just senior citizens. Everyone is welcome and if the scope of the return is something we are not trained to do we will let you know. We are here to help the community.