April 15 is just around the corner and, for many people, filling out taxes is a stressful and confusing chore. That’s especially true for seniors and, if you are helping an elderly parent while running your own household, you have double the burden this time of year.
Luckily, there are places in town that can help. The San Mateo Senior Center, for example, is offering tax assistance through the invaluable AARP Tax Assistance Program. Help like this can ease your own burden while also helping your senior parent gain the independence of handling this issue on his or her own.
The program is offered for taxpayers of any age, not just seniors. Residents who qualify can sign up for free one-on-one counseling for preparing basic tax returns, including the 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ and many other standard schedules. The filing fee for the taxes is also free.
The AARP Tax Assistance Program will be providing these services at the on Alameda De Las Pulgas every Tuesday from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. from now through April 15. Call the Senior Center at (650) 522-7490 to schedule an appointment, or stop by in advance.
Also in San Mateo, those seeking help with taxes can visit the , 55 W. 3rd Ave., on Fridays from noon to 4 p.m. Call (650) 539-4459 for more information.
The AARP Tax Assistance Program is the nation’s largest free, volunteer-run tax preparation and assistance service. There are other free tax services available besides the AARP program, many of which require taxpayers to file their taxes online, but the AARP program allows participants to work face-to-face with a knowledgeable tax volunteer to discuss their issues, strategize, and prepare the required forms. They will help the taxpayer organize their documents, helping make sure that they receive all the deductions and credits they are entitled to.
The AARP Tax Assistance Program is also offered at other nearby locations in addition to the San Mateo locations. The Foster City Library and Foster City Community Center offer the program on Wednesday afternoons, and tax help is available at Twin Pines Senior Center in Belmont as well.
Note that some of these AARP program locations specify that in order to qualify for this assistance program, people must be in the low- to moderate-income bracket, with an annual income of less than $49,000.
All of these help locations are also supported by the IRS VITA – or Volunteer Income Tax Assistance – program. In addition to the above-mentioned locations, the VITA program can be found at , 1700 West Hillsdale Blvd., Building 14, Room 104 in San Mateo. For this program, drop in on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. between now and March 26 (the program will be closed on Feb. 19). No appointments are given or necessary.
Good luck and may you all receive good tax news this season!