Free tax help available in Houston, Peach

February 27, 2013 

WARNER ROBINS -- There were questions going into the 2012 income tax preparation season, but AARP Tax-Aide volunteers took them in stride and are again preparing tax returns free of charge for the elderly and other residents of Middle Georgia.

“We had to train people on 2011 forms because the 2012 tax forms weren’t available from the IRS when we started training,” said Ginger Martin, coordinator of the Warner Robins Tax-Aide site at the Senior Citizen Center at 152 Maple St.

“We’ve gotten in most of the forms now, and there are only a few things left,” she said. “We can do taxes for most everybody without any problem.”

Officials said some tax documents were slow in coming due to Congressional inability to make financial decisions and allow the IRS to create forms in a timely manner.

AARP Tax-Aide 13th District Coordinator Howard Hollweg said taxes are done on computer and can be e-filed. He said it’s the physical supplemental documents some filers have to fill out that were slow in coming, such as forms for energy credits, tuition credits and similar. However, he said most are on site now.

Even with delays, Warner Robins’ more than 20 volunteer tax preparers and site workers have been busy getting returns prepared and filed. The nationwide AARP program targets low- to medium-income people older than 60, but the program’s partnership with Warner Robins allows a wider clientele here. The city supplies space, computers, tech support and other supplies allowing people of all ages to participate.

Tax-Aide volunteers do not do overly complex business returns or high-income individual returns.

Martin and Hollweg said some days people start waiting as early as 8 a.m., two hours ahead of the Warner Robins opening time. Martin said that’s not necessary, and people should come throughout the day. When possible, active duty military are typically sent to the front of the line as a courtesy.

Hollweg said his district also includes tax preparation sites in Perry, Fort Valley and Eastman. He said the Warner Robins site has the highest volume of returns prepared in the state with about 2,400 done each year and about 2,600 done in the 13th Tax-Aide District as a whole.

Hours in Warner Robins are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Senior Citizen Center. Call 322-0269 for more information or for information for taxpayers who cannot visit the site due to medical or physical issues. Some may be able to have others bring their taxes to the center for them with proper documentation.

Hollweg said all persons should bring necessary personal tax information. Photo identification and a Social Security card are required for new clients. Those who have previously been to the site must have proper personal identification.

In Perry, help is available at the Perry Volunteer Outreach Center at 733 Carroll St. The Perry center is open noon-3 p.m. Wednesdays and 9 a.m.-noon Saturdays.

The Fort Valley site is at Thomas Public Library at 315 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. Hours there are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesdays. Call 825-1640 in Fort Valley for information.

Sites will be open through April 15.

Contact Michael W. Pannell at mwpannell@gmail.com.

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