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Thursday, April 2, 2020

Tax preparation assistance programs come with potential issues, 60 Plus Association says

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By April Bamburg | Feb 18, 2020

Tax

Individuals in Auburn and Los Altos who are looking for help with their tax return preparation should be aware that there are risks associated with programs like the AARP Tax-Aide program or programs that are similar, the 60 Plus Association says.

“There are some very serious red flags regarding the AARP’s tax program and America’s seniors should be extremely cautious when considering whether or not to participate,” American Association of Senior Citizens Founder and Chairman James Martin said in a press release. “Volunteers within the program itself have raised significant data and privacy concerns and seniors should be aware of these issues as they make decisions regarding their tax filings.”

Former volunteers with the AARP Tax-Aide Program have told the 60 Plus Association that they have left the organization because they are concerned about how the AARP Foundation might use information they obtain. New policies, they say, force millions of taxpayers to disclose private, sensitive data without any limits on what AARP Foundation might do with it, according to a 60 Plus Association press release.

The press release states Tax-Aide's policies give AARP access to Social Security numbers, addresses and phone numbers of those who use the program.

AARP's Tax-Aide program is hosted again this year by the Los Altos Senior Program and will be available from February through April. The Los Altos Senior Program has hosted trained IRS-certified volunteer tax preparers since 1997. These events are scheduled for Monday mornings through April 13 at the Mountain View Community Center, 201 S. Rengstorff Ave. An appointment is required by calling 650-947-2797.

Or, in Auburn, residents who qualify can schedule appointments at the Auburn Senior Center, 550 High St., on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. An appointment can be made by calling 530-823-8172.

This program is meant for individuals who have low to moderate income levels, especially those 50 and older.

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