SWMOA seeks volunteer tax preparers to help seniors

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Southwest Missouri Office on Aging (SWMOA) is currently searching for volunteer tax preparers to offer services to seniors and low-income individuals in Barry, Lawrence and surrounding counties.

The Tax Counseling for Elderly (TCE) Program provides free help to people age 60 and older across 17 counties in southwest Missouri.

"This program helps to empower seniors in their communities," said Michelle Hudson, financial projects coordinator. "It provides a service that not only saves the senior money but in most cases gets money back for them. If you like helping seniors, you will love volunteering for our program."

Volunteer training is provided by the Across the LifeSpan (ATLS) Coalition, the IRS and the Missouri Department of Revenue. All volunteers are trained and IRS certified prior to February.

A New to Taxes training workshop will be offered in Springfield Dec. 5 through Dec. 9. Additional training sessions will be offered in January of 2012.

"There are no requirements to be a volunteer, however, computer skills are a plus," said Hudson. "Training is provided free of charge."

Volunteers are trained to help seniors e-file federal income taxes and file for Missouri property tax or rent rebates.

Trained volunteers also offer assistance to low-income individuals through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. The TCE and VITA programs operate from Feb. 1 through April 15 each year.

Last year, volunteers severed over 49,000 individuals, e-filed over 7,200 federal tax returns and prepared over 8,200 Missouri property tax or rent rebate forms. These services saved seniors and low-income individuals over $1.8 million in filing fees.

For more information or to serve as a volunteer tax preparer, call Hudson at 417-868-9599 or 1-800-497-0822 or email her at michelle@swmoa.com.

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