Sunday, June 13, 2021

AARP Tax Aide Returns to Offer Free Tax Filing

The Southlake Public Library will once again host AARP Tax Aide volunteers as they help low to moderate income and senior taxpayers file their Federal income taxes electronically.

Interested individuals can make an appointment with the Library for Thursday afternoons between February 1 and April 12, 2018. Appointments are available between 2:15 and 6:00 PM. Call the Library Reference Desk at 817-748-8247 to schedule an appointment for this service.

There are no age requirements and this is a free service.

The Southlake Police Department Warns of IRS Phone Scam

The Southlake Police Department is asking residents to be vigilant about phone and email scams that use the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as a lure. The scammers will attempt to contact individuals by phone or email. The fraudulent call goes something like this: “This is an officer from the Internal Revenue Service. We have been trying to reach you. This call is an official and final notice from the Internal Revenue Service. The reason for the call is to inform you that we have filed a lawsuit against you. For more information call us immediately.” 

At least one Southlake resident has reported receiving one of these fraudulent phone calls. They did the right thing by not returning the phone call and notifying the Southlake Police Department immediately.

It is important to remind our citizens that the IRS will never contact you by phone or email ‘out of the blue.’ If you owe money to the IRS they will send you a letter by certified mail. Police Chief James Brandon says, “Being informed is the best defense and we want to make every effort to protect our citizens from becoming victims of the IRS scam.”

Here are some important tips for citizens from the IRS:

  • The IRS will never initiate contact with individuals by phone or email to request personal or financial information.
  • The IRS will only initiate contact by certified mail.
  • The IRS also does not ask for PINs, passwords or similar confidential access.
  • Recipients should not open any attachments or click on any links contained in the message. Instead, forward the email to phishing@irs.gov.
  • The IRS will never request immediate payment over the telephone and will not take enforcement action immediately following a phone conversation. (*Taxpayers usually receive prior notification of IRS enforcement action involving IRS tax liens or levies.)

In some cases, after threatening victims with jail time or a driver’s license revocation, scammers will often hang up and call back pretending to be from the local police department or Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The caller ID often supports their claim because the scammers are able to mask the real number they are calling from with one that appears to be from the IRS.

Another big red flag for these scams are angry, threatening calls from people who say they are from the IRS and are urging immediate payment. The IRS wants to make it clear that this is not how they operate. They also urge individuals to hang up immediately and contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) or the IRS at IRS.gov, phone 1.800.829.1040 or contact TIGTA at 1.800.366.4484.

Tax Assistance at the Library

The Southlake Public Library is again hosting AARP Tax-Aide. Volunteers e-file tax returns free of charge. It is not necessary to be an AARP member to use the service and there are no age restrictions, but a reservation is required and all parties must be present.  The volunteers will be available Thursday afternoons starting February 5th and continuing until April 9thOne hour appointments are available at 3:00, 4:00, 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. Please call the library at 817-748-8247 to schedule your reservation.

 The library also participates in the IRS Tax Forms Outlet Program.  We have limited quantities of the most common tax forms including the various 1040s, W-2s, and 1099-MISC. We can also print most other forms from irs.gov.

AARP Seeks Volunteers for Tax-Aide Program

Tax-AideAARP is seeking area volunteers to assist with the Tax-Aide program offered locally in libraries and seniors centers, including the Southlake Public Library and the Southlake Senior Activity Center. The Tax-Aide program prepares over 2.5 million returns annually with over 35,000 volunteers nationally. Volunteers are being actively recruited in Southlake, Grapevine, Colleyville, and Keller to assist with this popular program.

Volunteers should be comfortable with computers. Some personal tax experience in the past is a plus – but not a requirement. There are no age limits, meaning volunteers do not have to be retired or a member of AARP.   All necessary training, training materials, and computers are provided. The formal training is in January during a 4-day training class, which is a combination of tax laws and practical exercises (preparing returns). Prior to the January class, training materials are sent to each volunteer and they are encouraged to study and do practical exercises prior to the January class.   At the completion of training, each volunteer must pass a test for certification. The test, which is mainly preparing tax returns, can be done at the volunteer’s own pace and is open book so all of the reference materials are available.   AARP asks volunteers to work one 4-hour shift each week for the 11 weeks of the tax season. The shift is the same time, day, and location each week and an effort is made to match volunteers with the closest site to their home or work place. Veteran volunteers are close by new recruits offering encouragement and assistance to ensure accurate returns are prepared.  Returns are almost always electronically filed with the IRS and acceptance is received in a matter of a few hours.

To volunteer, applicants should contact Bill Taylor at (817) 217-4434 or wstaylor@aol.com.  Mr. Taylor will take some very basic contact information then enter the volunteer into the Tax-Aide system.  A district coordinator will contact the volunteer and provide additional details on the training and site locations.