Can anyone get tax preparation help at an AARP Tax-Aide site?
Almost anyone can receive free assistance, as long as it is within the limits of the skill and training of our volunteer tax counselors. Do keep in mind that help is intended primarily for persons with low to moderate income so those able to utilize the services of professional preparers are encouraged to do so, particularly for complex issues and complicated returns.
Do I have to be a member of AARP?
AARP membership is not required. This is a free community service provided through the auspices of the AARP Foundation and the IRS.
Are the tax counselors competent and well trained?
All counselors go through a training process which includes intensive study, and also classroom instruction, of both federal tax law and the laws that pertain to their respective state returns. Prior to being allowed to prepare taxes, the counselors must pass an IRS certification test. This process is repeated annually by all tax counselors. Note, however, that the taxpayer is ultimately responsible for their own return. The volunteer tax counselor is “held harmless” since they depend upon the taxpayer to provide all relevant information needed to complete an accurate return.
Is it really free?
Yes, there is no charge; tips and gratuities are not accepted.
Are state returns prepared?
Yes, Wisconsin returns are prepared along with the Federal return, including Homestead credit if the taxpayer is eligible. If the taxpayer lived in a different state during the tax year, and that state has a state income tax, then we are unable to complete their tax return.
Are there any tax returns that cannot be prepared?
Most tax returns can be completed by our tax counselors. However, there are some returns we cannot do. A full list of the returns we cannot do is found here.
Must I make an appointment?
Most of our sites require appointments, but some sites serve taxpayers on a first-come, first-served basis. Check our list of locations to see specific requirements for each site. When appointments are required, they can be made by phone and/or by coming to the site, while it is open, and making an appointment there.
Do both spouses need to be present?
Yes. Electronic returns using Form 8879 must be signed by both parties in the presence of the preparer or reviewer and photo and Social Security ID is required for both. The only exception to this is if one spouse is incapacitated and the other spouse has power of attorney to sign for the spouse who is not present.
What do I need to bring?
A complete list of everything you need to bring can be found here.
Does the taxpayer need to complete any forms?
Yes, each taxpayer is required to complete the “IRS Form 13614-C Intake/Interview & Quality Review Sheet” and a Wisconsin Information Sheet before the return can be started. There is also a quick 4-question survey from AARP, which is optional, that helps us apply for grant money. These forms can be found here, or are provided at the site during the hours it is open. Assistance is available from the greeter and counselor.
Are there other centers offering free preparation service?
Yes, click here to locate VITA sites that will help taxpayers with low income (below $53,930).
Need a Copy of Your Tax Return Information?
Requesting Transcripts: For complete information about ordering transcripts online or by mail click here.
You may also request transcripts by phone by calling 1-800-908-9946, or order by mail using IRS Form 4506T (Request for Transcript of Tax Return).
There is no charge or fee for transcripts. Allow two weeks for delivery.