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Free tax assistance at Rocklin Library

Volunteers offer help with state, federal taxes
By: Anne Stokes, Placer Herald correspondent
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AARP tax aide

To make an appointment at the Rocklin Library site, call: (916) 668-9829. You can also visit www.aarp.org/money/taxes/aarp_tax aide/ or call (888) 227-7669 to find additional sites near you.Be sure to bring with you:

• A copy of last year's income tax return

• W-2 from each employer

• Any unemployment compensation statements

• SSA-1099 form if you were paid Social Security benefits

• All 1099 forms showing interest and/or dividends showing original purchase price of sold assets

• 1099-misc. showing any miscellaneous income

• 1099-R if you received a pension or annuity

• All forms indicating federal income tax paid

• Dependent care provider information (name, employer, ID, social security number)

• All receipts or canceled checks if itemizing deductions

• Social security cards of other official documentation for yourself and all dependents.

Monday, April 15, is just around the corner. For those who need a little help filing their state and federal tax returns, AARP and the IRS have teamed up to sponsor free assistance for taxpayers at sites around the country, including several places in Placer County.

From now until Wednesday, April 10, tax aid volunteers are available for preparation ap-pointments on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays at the Rocklin Library on Granite Drive.

The AARP Foundation Tax-Aide, the nation’s largest volunteer-staffed tax assistance service, seeks to provide free advice and return preparations to low- and moderate-income taxpayers. Although AARP mainly provides services to those over the age of 60, there are no age requirements for free tax help. All AARP Tax Aide volunteers are trained annually through the IRS and are able to handle most simple returns.

However, there are limitations to what volunteers can do.

“We do have a ‘don’t do’ list,” said local coordinator and Tax-Aide volunteer Marc Soutiere. “We don’t do terribly complicated returns.”

Volunteers cannot help file returns for those who have rental properties (Schedule E), farm income (Schedule F), business losses exceeding $5,000 (Schedule C) and partial-year residents, among other things. But for those taxpayers who are simply looking for a place to bring their W-2s, volunteers are ready and willing to help.

In order to make sure everything runs smoothly, Soutiere advises taxpayers to be prepared before coming in for their appointment.

“They should always bring their previous tax return from last year, whether we did it or they had it done somewhere else, and obviously all the tax documents that you always get in the mail this time of year, like their W-2s, 1099-Gs for unemployment, 1099-Rs for retirement or pension plans, as well.”

And if you have itemized deductions, such as medical expenses or charitable contributions, tally them up ahead of time.

“If someone comes with a big shoebox (of receipts), we really don’t have the time to go over each little one with them,” he admitted. “We try to help anybody who comes in, but if they need to maybe make another appointment once they get their stuff all organized, we can do that for them, too.”