No Western Slope tax help from AARP

AARP Foundation is again providing free tax assistance for taxpayers with low to moderate incomes, but unlike previous years, Western Slope residents will need to drive hundreds of miles to take advantage.

For the first time, the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program will not open a site on the Western Slope, said Angela Cortez, a foundation spokeswoman.

“They were volunteers and they disbanded and that’s why we don’t have a site right now,” Cortez said. “We’re always looking to add another site.”

Now in its 45th year, the nation’s largest free tax assistance and preparation service is giving special attention to those 60 and older, unless they live in Grand Junction, Glenwood Springs or Montrose.

There are 54,000 members of AARP living on the Western Slope, Cortez said.

“I don’t know where your closest one is,” Cortez. “We had one. It disbanded. The volunteerism just wasn’t there.”

Membership is not required and people of all ages may use the free service, but Western Slope residents will need to drive to Denver or some other Front Range location in order to get free help.

“We owe a huge debt of gratitude for the 531 Colorado volunteers who have contributed to the success of AARP Foundation’s Tax-Aide Program,” said John Meredith, AARP Foundation Tax Aide Colorado coordinator.

Unfortunately, none of them agreed to work on the western side of the mountains, Cortez said.

Last year in Colorado, volunteers helped more than 31,000 people file their federal and state tax returns, saving them millions in preparation fees and refunding Coloradans $17 million, with more than $3 million coming from earned income tax credits.

Colorado has 50 Tax-Aide sites, including senior centers, libraries and other locations, all on the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains.

Cortez said Colorado Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, a free tax service provided by the Internal Revenue Service, replaced AARP Tax-Aide on the Western Slope, but ColoradoVITA officials did not yet have information about where its sites would be located.

For more information, call 1-888-227-7669.


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