Los Altos Senior Program offers free tax assistance

The Los Altos Senior Center offers free tax assistance Monday mornings through April 16.

The Tax Aide service, sponsored by the AARP Foundation, is the nation’s largest volunteer tax assistance program. Los Altos has hosted a Tax Aide site for more than 22 years. IRS-certified volunteers meet with clients, review their tax forms and records, and prepare and electronically file both federal and California tax returns.

The service is available to clients with low to moderate incomes from any community, with a special emphasis on those 60 years old and up, but no one will be turned away because of age.

“The volunteer training and certification process is quite extensive, and each return is double-checked for accuracy, so clients can expect a high-quality experience,” said Robert Ward, local coordinator for the Los Altos program.

According to Ward, Tax Aide volunteers can prepare returns for wages, Social Security, self-employment income, interest, dividends, capital gains, pensions and itemized deductions.

“There is really no reason to go to a paid preparer,” he said.

The volunteers are not certified to prepare returns involving rentals with depreciation or some other more complex returns.

Clients should bring their photo ID, 2016 tax return, all 2017 tax information, evidence of health-care coverage if available and Social Security card or statement to their tax appointment.

Those who want a direct deposit of their refunds should bring a checkbook to verify their bank routing number and account number.

Appointments for tax services are required.

To make an appointment or to determine whether your tax return qualifies, call the Senior Program at 947-2797.

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