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Tax-Aide looking for local volunteers to help with tax preparation

By Press Times Staff

BROWN COUNTY – AARP Foundation Tax-Aide, the nation’s largest free tax assistance and individual tax return preparation service, is looking for volunteers in the area to help serve low- to moderate-income taxpayers.

The local Tax-Aide group is 100 percent volunteers and has eight tax preparation sites in the greater Green Bay area, Sturgeon Bay, Sister Bay and Marinette.

“We have five sites in the Green Bay area,” said Connie Davister, Tax-Aide district coordinator. “We go to Howard one day, De Pere one day, we go to Ashwaubenon one day, we go to Allouez one day and we go to downtown Green Bay one day. We try to cover all the areas, so older people don’t have to travel too far.”

During the 2018 tax year, the local group of 50 volunteers did 3,200 returns and returned more than $3.2 million dollars to the local economy while saving taxpayers approximately $475,000 in tax preparation fees.

“We allow an average of 45 minutes per return, so some take us 30 minutes if they only have social security and some will take us an hour or hour and a half,” Davister said. “So we stay at the site til we get them all done that day, and they’re all done by appointment.”

The Tax-Aide volunteer group starts Feb. 1 and goes until April 15, five days a week. All tax preparation work is done during the daytime hours.

Every taxpayer gets a printed copy of his or her Federal and Wisconsin returns, and both returns are electronically filed.

There’s no fee for participants, taxpayers of all ages are served and AARP membership is not required.

All Tax-Aide counselors are trained and IRS-certified each year to ensure they understand the latest changes to the U.S. Tax Code.

Training for new volunteers starts in November, and returning volunteers train in December and January to stay up to date on any tax code changes.

AARP Tax-Aide needs assistance to make this service known to clients who could use help and services, and to recruit volunteers.

There are several different volunteer positions within the program:

• Counselor – the person that sits down and actually does the tax preparation. If someone has done their own personal income taxes and is comfortable using a computer, they are qualified.

• Client facilitator (greeter) – the person that greets the clients and gives them a little help filling out their information sheet when they arrive at the site. If someone enjoys face-to-face interaction with others, this is a good fit.

• Appointment scheduler – this person signs up for a 4 or 8 hour block and schedules appointments. This is done from home using a personal computer.

“Being the district coordinator, I have a really good group of volunteers,” Davister said. “When we go to state meetings, they say our group is really great.”

Training and assistance is provided for every position.

The local Tax-Aide group is flexible and volunteers can sign up for any position from one to five days per week during tax preparation time and will always be covered for vacations, etc.

People interested in volunteering can call Davister at 920-639-5153 or can email her at [email protected].

Those who want to schedule an appointment can call 920-393-3112.

“It’s pretty amazing, and we’d like to get the word out about what we do, because it’s kind of a well-kept secret,” Davister said.

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