AARP tax aides worried seniors could fall through the cracks this season

Tax Season Begins
Posted at 5:14 AM, Jan 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-18 08:09:16-05

MILWAUKEE -- Seniors have been one of the most isolated and vulnerable populations in this pandemic.

Despite this, taxes will still be due.

The AARP is ensuring free tax help is available for all seniors, while keeping them safe.

By the numbers, you can see why AARP leaders are worried about seniors falling through the cracks this season.

Lynette Lee-Villanueva with AARP says 47,000 clients received free tax help in 2019 in Wisconsin. That number plummeted to 28,000 in 2020. She adds, "That is a concern but we're hoping that there will be somebody either a loved one or trusted friend who can really help them through that process to get them to us."

About 125 AARP tax aide sites are available state-wide on a normal year. This year it will shrink to about 60. The reason is that libraries and nursing homes are not available for use.

There are also fewer volunteers signing up. Lynette says most volunteers are retired, "We don't want anybody to put themselves at risk whether that's a volunteer or a taxpayer that needs to come to see us, less than 15-minute contact at the site with the volunteer and the taxpayer so the risk is minimized.

She adds, "The taxpayer will come in have their documents scanned and they will leave the return will be prepared and then they'll come back to finalize the end at another time."

You can learn more about AARP tax help by calling (888) 227-7669. They will be taking in their first clients of this tax season in about two weeks. That is when you can search for a site near you by clicking here. This service in particular is open to all ages and is focused on low to moderate-income levels.

Additionally, you can find more free tax resource sites in Southeast Wisconsin by calling 211 or clicking here.

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