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Free tax help available
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Once again, volunteers are available to help low- and moderate-income residents prepare their state and federal income tax returns, including the Kansas Homestead Claim for senior citizens who are homeowners.

Kathy Ahlvers, who is volunteering as a trained AARP tax-aide, said she and three other volunteers will work in Room 101 of the Barton County Courthouse on Wednesdays through April 6, but appointments are required and the month of February is already booked. Appointments must be made by calling the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program office, 620-792-1614.

All of the volunteers attended a tax school in January, Ahlvers said. They can handle most returns, such as the 1040 Form and the more standard of the schedules, including Schedules A and B. They don’t do returns for farm income or returns that require reporting property depreciation, she noted. They do, however, file state and federal returns electronically for those who qualify.

The following items must be brought to complete tax returns:

• last year’s tax return;

• copies of all W-2 forms, 1099 forms and proof of other income received by you and your spouse;

• Social Security or ITIN cards for you, your spouse and any dependents being claimed on the tax return;

• a valid photo; and

• a copy of your 2010 property tax statement, if filing the Kansas Homestead Claim.

Participants should also bring a check (or their bank’s routing number and account number). While the service is free, this information is needed so refunds can be made by direct deposit.

According to information from the American Association of Retired Persons, AARP tax-aide volunteers have helped nearly 50 million low- to moderate-income taxpayers, many of whom are aged 60 or older, since 1968. Ahlvers noted that hundreds of people seek help each year in Barton County. With only four volunteers, she expects there will be more requests than her group can handle.