COLORADO SPRINGS — Law enforcement leaders say taxpayers should be very careful with who they trust this tax season. AARP is providing a local program that’s going the extra mile to help seniors and low income taxpayers stay safe and get the help they need.
The AARP Tax-Aide program prides itself on being the largest free, volunteer based tax assistance and preparation program in the country. Trained volunteers utilizing protected technology are ready to help our local seniors and low income taxpayers at sites across the Pikes Peak Region.
”Somebody who is trustworthy that they can go talk to," said AARP Tax-Aide District Coordinator for Colorado Springs Terry Dorpinghaus. "You’ve got to know the rules and regulations and that’s kind of where it comes from. We want to help people the best we can.”
She’s worked for months getting volunteers ready at sites across the city to be equipped to offer free help to seniors and low income taxpayers.
”Everybody in the system needs to take a series of tests. We do it every year. They are updated every year based on what the state and federal changes are,” said Dorpinghaus.
Tax-Aide volunteer Larry Barnes works at the Library 21c site preparing taxes for those in need for more than a decade now. He says the ability to provide his neighbors with safety and security through this free service at tax time keeps him coming back.
”Everything we do is fully encrypted all the way from here. There is nothing stored on this machine at all," said Barnes. "If I walk out of here and someone hits me over the head and gets the machine, they will not know about a single taxpayer that we have worked with.”
He says people coming in are also taking steps that are helping to prevent identity theft.
”By making an extra entry on their return we’re able to e-file it. By doing this that would then prevent someone else from filing a return using their social security number,” said Barnes.
To take advantage of this program you do not have to be a member of AARP. The volunteers on the front lines of this free tax preparing effort say being able to help people bring home money they are entitled to at tax time does have a major impact on the lives of our seniors and those living on low incomes.
But sign-ups do fill up fast, so you won’t want to wait.
”Why don’t you come down and see if we can do it for you and help you out to save you some bucks? That’s kind of where we are at," said Dorpinghaus. "We’re out to save them some money, but also make sure it’s done legally and safely.”
To learn more about AARP's Tax-Aide program:
To find a location best for you and to sign-up for help:
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