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Free Tax Prep For Low And Moderate Income Taxpayers

MOUNTAIN AREA — Free income tax return preparation and electronic filing, for both California state and federal returns, will be available again this year for mountain area residents, offered by the AARP Tax-Aide program.

Services are provided free of all costs and charges, to low and moderate income taxpayers of all ages.

Tax returns are prepared by specially trained and certified volunteers. The returns are prepared on site, and then electronically filed the same day.

Last year, Tax-Aide volunteers prepared and filed over 550 tax returns for Madera County residents.

Tax help is offered to persons of all ages – you don’t have to be a senior citizen, or a member of AARP. Indeed, last year, Tax Aide prepared first tax returns for several 17- and 18-year-old students who had their first jobs.

Services are offered at the community room at the Oakhurst Library, and are available on Tuesdays between Feb. 7 and Apr. 11. One  Saturday is also available — Feb. 25 — to make the services more accessible for families and working adults.

Appointments are required and can be made by calling Brian Ross at 559-285-1494.

Persons seeking appointments are urged to call early, as the total number of appointment slots has been reduced this year from last year due to reductions in the number of volunteers and a change in the tax software which is used.

Tax-Aide services are also offered on Thursdays in the City of Madera, at the Annex to the First Southern Baptist Church, 711 Nebraska Avenue. There will be one day of services in Chowchilla as well. Appointments may be made for these sites by calling Sarah Titus at  559-706-1868.

The program has been headed locally by Jerry Ephraim for over 26 years. Ephraim is presently serving as regional coordinator for California Tax-Aide District 3, a large area which extends from Modesto in the north to Bakersfield in the south, and from San Jose and Monterey in the west to Sonora and Barstow in the east.

Although he has handed the day-to-day duties in Oakhurst and Madera to Darlene Kelly, Ephraim will still be present on most return preparation days in Oakhurst to lend a hand and to meet and greet his long-time clients and friends.

AARP Tax-Aide is the nation’s largest free, volunteer-run tax assistance and preparation service available to taxpayers with low- and moderate income, with special attention to those age 60 and older. Over 33,000 AARP Tax-Aide volunteers, trained in cooperation with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), now help over 2 million taxpayers file their federal, state, and local tax returns each year at nearly 7,000 AARP Tax-Aide sites nationwide.

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