Free Tax Aide program helps seniors with tax returns

The new year is here, and that means tax season is right around the corner. Locally, the Midland branch of the AARP Tax Aide program, a volunteer-run organization which provides tax assistance to low to moderate income seniors over 50, kicks off next week. The annual program is run by trained and IRS-certified, Tax- Aide volunteers, and will be available for booking appointments starting January 9.

Volunteer Dave Haslam says the program has been offered for years, and typically completes 1,700 tax returns each year. Over 35 volunteer tax counselors help area residents with their returns. During COVID, the program completed over 1,000 returns virtually. This year, the program returns to in-person appointments.

A team of Tax-Aide volunteers are trained and ready to serve.
“All of our volunteers are trained and IRS-certified every year to make sure we know about the latest changes to the tax code and we can do the taxes correctly,” Haslam says, who has been a volunteer for two decades. 

“We’ll go through their return, interview them, do their return, have them review their return and sign it, and then we will file it for free that same day,” he says. 

Haslam says most of the volunteer tax counselors are retirees, but are trained and up-to-date with pertinent tax information. Many senior citizens don’t need to file for taxes, as Social Security is mostly untaxed, but Haslam says there are other benefits to filing returns, some of which seniors aren’t aware of, but this program aims to get the word out. 
The deadline for filing federal income tax returns is Tuesday, April 18, 2023
“Everybody in the state of Michigan who has a total income of less than $63,000 can be eligible for a property tax credit if they own a home or rent an apartment or home. That property tax credit can be up to $1600. There’s also a home heating credit, which you have to have a lower income to receive that, but a lot of our seniors are eligible for that,” he says. 

“We want to get the word out that just because you don’t have to file because you may not have much income, you can still file and get these credits,” Haslam says. 

Appointments can be made by calling 989-832-7937, ext. 6. Scheduled appointments will take place on Thursday and Friday starting in the first week of February, and run through April. Appointments typically last about an hour, and take place at the Barstow/Shipps Senior Center at the Midland Community Center. 

Additional information for City of Saginaw and Tuscola County residents from 211 NE Michigan: 211 will be directing people to free tax appointments as well for AARP and regular Tax Aide Program sites available in our area. We will be setting appointments for Saginaw United Way and Frankenmuth Credit Union sites serving City of Saginaw and Tuscola County residents as well. 

 

Read more articles by Sarah Spohn.

Sarah Spohn is a Lansing native, but every day finds a new interesting person, place, or thing in towns all over Michigan, leaving her truly smitten with the mitten. She received her degrees in journalism and professional communications and provides coverage for various publications locally, regionally, and nationally — writing stories on small businesses, arts and culture, dining, community, and anything Michigan-made. You can find her in a record shop, a local concert, or eating one too many desserts at a bakery. If by chance, she’s not at any of those places, you can contact her at sarahspohn.news@gmail.com.