Time is running out for filling out tax returns, and those who need help can find it with volunteers of the AARP Tax-Aide program. The service is available in three Gorge locations: Mondays at the Hood River County Library, Thursdays at the Hood River Valley Adult Center and by appointment at the Pioneer Center in White Salmon.
Volunteers provide free assistance for low- and moderate-income taxpayers, with special attention to those 60 and older.
The kinds of returns that are within the scope of the program have narrowed this year. Volunteers cannot assist taxpayers with rental income, with businesses expenses greater than $5,000, with business losses or with home office deductions.
Taxpayers whose primary income comes from wages, unemployment, retirement income, interest, dividends and simple capital gains are encouraged to avail themselves of this free service. Taxpayers must bring with them proof of ID, Social Security and taxpayer ID numbers, a copy of last year’s income tax return, all W-2 forms and 1099 forms showing interest/dividends, unemployment, investment, pension, annuity and Social Security income.
There are significant tax benefits for families with children. Families who pay for child care so parents can work or go to school should bring properly completed receipts from the child care provider. College students or their parents should bring the 1099-T they received from the school documenting their tuition payments. In some cases, receipts for textbooks and other supplies required by the school may be useful for a tax break.
Taxpayers who pay home mortgage interest and property taxes, who contribute to charity and who have high medical bills should bring a record of those expenses including receipts when possible. Volunteers can assist taxpayers in calculating whether it is to the taxpayer’s advantage to itemize those deductions.
Service will be available as shown below throughout the tax season, which ends April 15. The full schedule is:
n Hood River County Library — Mondays, 2-7 p.m.
n Hood River Valley Adult Center — Thursdays, 2-7 p.m.
n White Salmon — Wednesdays, by appointment only; call Jill Parrot at 509-493-3068 for an appointment.