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Volunteers offer tax guidance

Help has arrived for citizens who claim low or middle income andmust fill out tax forms.

The Lincoln County chapter of the American Association ofRetired People (AARP) is offering to help those people fill outtheir taxes for free with the assistance of several volunteers fromthe area.

Every Monday until April 16, from 1-5 p.m. atLincoln-Lawrence-Franklin Regional Library, volunteers will set uptables and work with people one-on-one.

“We not only do their forms for free, we do a little counseling,too,” said Paul Reuter, district coordinator for the tax-aideprogram.

He said some people come to the library and find out they do notneed to even file any forms, but volunteers will certainly lookover any forms to check them.

“Occasionally people do their own and bring them in for us tocheck,” Reuter said.

Reuter and Houston Case have been volunteering for the programfor 12 years.

“I’m retired, and I always did my own taxes, so I thought I’dget involved,” Reuter explained.

Being able to complete their own tax forms is not the onlyqualification of the volunteers, though.

“We go to school every year for an intensive three-day course toupdate us on any changes and refresh our memories,” Reutersaid.

Most of the more than 30 people who visited the library Monday,which was the first day, were excited about the service.

“I’ve been coming for several years, and I’ve always been wellpleased. They do a good job,” said C.R. Hodges of Brookhaven.

The service being provided for free was enough to bring a lot ofpeople in who were hoping to save on the expensive tax preparationfees.

“I worked hard all year for this money, so I don’t want to takemoney out of my tax money to pay for it,” said Sheila D. Martin,who has seen her tax fees triple in the the last few years.

Anyone in the low to middle income range wishing to getassistance with their tax returns should bring their federal andstate tax packages, W-2, 1099 and other forms, along with a copy oflast year’s returns.