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AARP to give free tax help

All lower and middle income taxpayers are eligible for service.

The AARP Foundation will provide free tax preparation and e-filing of federal and state income taxes for local residents at the Marian Sutherland Kirby Library in Mountain Top and the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Wilkes-Barre.

All lower to middle income taxpayers are eligible for this service, although special consideration is given to seniors age 60 and older.

The AARP Foundation is a national charitable organization that works to help seniors nationwide with various issues. In addition to the Tax-Aide program, the foundation holds food drives for hungry families, provides scholarship opportunities for women over 40, and helps eligible seniors find assistance through public benefit programs that help pay for food and prescription drugs.

The foundation’s Tax-Aide program is the nation’s largest free, volunteer-run tax preparation and assistance service for lower-income taxpayers. Stephen Gardner, assistant state director for communication for AARP in Pennsylvania, said volunteers are trained and IRS-certified.

The training is rigorous and must be repeated every year to ensure that volunteers are prepared, said Dora Lynn Moody, district coordinator in Luzerne County.

Ten volunteers at five local sites do tax preparation. In addition to Mountain Top and Wilkes-Barre, the AARP Foundation offers tax help in Drums in Butler Township, Hazleton and Dorrance. No prior experience is required to volunteer, but it helps if volunteers have completed taxes before and know how to use a computer.

“We do almost exclusively e-filing in our district,” said Moody.

The Tax-Aide program has been available in Luzerne County for about 15 years. Since then, several thousand seniors have received help with their taxes.

At the Marian Sutherland Kirby Library, 35 Kirby Ave., tax assistance will be available on Mondays through April 11. Taxpayers should call 678-5436 between 9 a.m. and noon Monday through Friday to make an appointment.

Tax assistance at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 190 S. Main St., Wilkes-Barre, runs on Thursdays through April 14. Those interested in an appointment should call 678-3504 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Participating taxpayers will need to come with a copy of their 2009 tax return, social security statement, W-2, 1099 and interest or dividend income statements, and any property tax receipts for 2010.

Need tax help?

For more information or to volunteer, call Dora Lynn Moody at (570) 474-5863.

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