A small army of certified, volunteer tax preparers will be helping the public fill out the forms and file their annual dues to the U.S., state and county governments beginning Feb. 1, thanks to the AARP TaxAide Program.
It’s a free service to anyone who has an advance appointment, which can be made after Jan. 10 by calling 573-518-7887 between 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Tuesday through Friday. All the volunteers are trained and IRS-certified every year. They prepare and e-file federal and state tax returns free of charge.
Vivian Riche, who has been locally connected with the national program for 25 years, said she’s always amazed how many people might never have heard of the program before, when it’s in its 53rd year.
“Most of the time, it’s word of mouth that brings them in,” she said, adding that the local team served 450 taxpayers last year.
Anyone can come from any location – she said even people from St. Louis have traveled to Farmington to get their taxes done — but Riche can’t emphasize enough the importance of calling the right number and making an appointment, once the phone number is activated on Jan. 10.
“You must schedule an appointment to have your taxes done,” reads a news release she recently issued. “If you fail to keep your appointment, it will be necessary for you to call and schedule a new appointment … You cannot leave a voice message on this number. You must speak with a volunteer to schedule. If no one answers, call back later.”
Riche indicated it’s important for callers to use the 573-518-7887 number and to not call the library, since the library isn’t sponsoring the program and can’t make the appointments.
The program is open to taxpayers of all ages and backgrounds, and AARP membership isn’t required. The AARP TaxAide will begin preparing property tax credit returns at the Farmington Public Library on Feb. 1, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Anyone with an appointment between 9-10 a.m. will need to use the Liberty Street door to the Farmington Public Library, since the library generally doesn’t open until 10 a.m. The door is only open for those with tax preparation appointments between 9 to 10 a.m.
The program will begin preparing federal tax returns, along with property tax returns, at the Farmington Library on Feb. 7, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Initially, the Farmington tax center will be open Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Beginning March 16, Thursdays will be added to the schedule in Farmington, with the last day of tax preparation being April 13.
A satellite tax preparation center will be open for property taxes at the Fredericktown Public Library on Feb. 3, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Federal tax preparation and returns will begin at the Fredericktown library on Fridays, Feb. 10 through March 10.
In Potosi, TaxAide will be providing property tax services to Potosi, “and that will be arranged directly between the Sayer Senior Center and our volunteers,” Riche said. “In the past, we have had quite a few folks from Potosi to come to both Farmington and Fredericktown to have federal returns done.”
Riche said a TaxAide office used to be located in Potosi, but COVID shut down a lot of locations that haven’t been started up quite yet. She said Farmington’s has been open for the past two years, and the Farmington library, they’ve found, has been a fantastic location.
“We’re in a large room and it can be set up where people have privacy when they’re sitting there, having their taxes done,” she said. “There’s an area where people can wait, and of course, there’s the library with all kinds of reading material. The staff has been wonderful.”
Riche said preparing to prepare taxes is the better part of valor, when it comes to paying citizenship dues to Uncle Sam. She shared a lot of advance information to those who are planning to use the AARP Tax Aide service this year.
To have a joint return prepared, both spouses must come in for the appointment, bringing:
- Their 2019, 2020 and 2021 tax returns
- Photo ID
- Social Security card or other official documentation for themselves and all dependents
- W-2 forms
- Unemployment compensation statements
- SSA-1099 forms if paid Social Security benefits
- All 1099 forms (1099INT, 1099 DIV, etc.) showing interest and/or dividends and documentation showing the original purchase price of any sold assets
- 1099MISC showing any miscellaneous income
- 1099-NEC showing any non-employee compensation
- 1099-R if you received a pension or annuity
- Dependent care provider information (name, address, employer, ID, etc.)
Riche said, if Tax Aid is preparing one’s 2021 return, the taxpayer should bring any received:
- Letter 6475: “Your 2021 Economic Impact Payments” notice which will be sent beginning in late January.
- Letter 6419: “2021 Total Advance Child Tax Credit (AdvCTC) Payments” which are being mailed out now to taxpayers who received advanced payments.
- 1095A – Health Insurance Marketplace Statement if one got their health insurance thru ACA.
- All forms indicating federal or state income tax paid or withheld.
- Any other forms received to support deductions or credits on the return.
- Any correspondence received from the IRS or MO Department of Revenue for any tax year listed above.
Riche indicated dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s is everything, when it comes to the paperwork.
“If you do not have the necessary documentation, we will not be able to prepare your taxes at that time,” she said. “You will have to make another appointment and return at a later date.”
Sarah Haas is the assistant editor for the Daily Journal. She can be reached at 573-518-3617 or email@example.com.