Mid-Shore AARP Tax-Aide End of Tax Season Luncheon

The Mid-Shore AARP Tax-Aide volunteers celebrated the completion of their twenty-second successful tax season with a luncheon at the Kramer Senior Center in Centreville on May 29. From February 1 through April 15 fifty volunteers with the Mid-Shore AARP Tax-Aide program offered free tax assistance and preparation of tax returns for low- and middle-income taxpayers, with special attention to those age 60 and older, at eleven locations provided by community partners in Talbot, Queen Anne’s, Caroline, and Kent counties.

Each year AARP Tax-Aide volunteers receive extensive training to assure that they are up-to-date with the latest changes in the tax code and are able to prepare accurate tax returns. Seven all-day training classes and practice sessions were held at Chesapeake College from mid-December through mid-January. By the time they were finished with their training, the forty-five volunteers who would be preparing 2008 tax returns had passed two tests – one for federal returns and one for state returns – to become Certified Counselors for the current tax season. One-third of this year’s Certified Counselors had ten or more years of experience volunteering with Mid-Shore AARP Tax-Aide.

Many of the Certified Counselors and Client Facilitators often worked at two or more of the eleven Mid-Shore AARP Tax-Aide locations every week in order to help all the people who needed assistance with their taxes. There were about 4,200 clients served, and about 3,500 of them had federal and state tax returns prepared. Virginia “Ginny” Ruth, District Coordinator for the Mid-Shore AARP Tax-Aide program, said “It was only through the efforts of our dedicated volunteers that so many people were able to get their taxes completed at no cost whatsoever and receive their much needed tax refunds. We will need even more volunteers next year to continue providing this much appreciated service to the community.” Anyone interested in becoming an AARP Tax-Aide volunteer should contact John Lawrence at 410-827-7544 or at taxes@johnlawrence.name.

The AARP Tax-Aide program got its start on the Mid-Shore in 1989 through the efforts of Mr. & Mrs. Thomas of Easton, who began offering free tax assistance in the Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church fellowship hall on Aurora St. With the assistance of Jeanette Fesenfeld, who was a very active supporter at the outset of the program, the AARP Tax-Aide program expanded into Queens County with locations first in Centreville and Grasonville. During the 1990’s and into the early years of this decade, AARP Tax-Aide continued to grow on the Mid-Shore under the leadership of Bob Price and especially Frank Wolfe, who led the expansion of tax assistance sites in all four counties. The first location in Caroline County opened in Greensboro in 2001 and the Chestertown site started providing free tax assistance shortly thereafter. There are now eleven primary AARP Tax-Aide sites in the four-county area.

On the national level AARP Tax-Aide started in 1968 in the District of Columbia. In 1980 a cooperative agreement was established with the IRS for AARP Tax-Aide to operate as part of the IRS Tax Counseling for the Elderly program and in 1996 AARP transferred administration of the AARP Tax-Aide program to the AARP Foundation, with an expansion of services to include low- and middle-income taxpayers regardless of age. There now are nearly 7,000 AARP Tax-Aide sites nationwide with over 33,000 volunteers who served more than 2.9 million tax returns in 2008.

Mid-Shore AARP Tax-Aide Fact Sheet
All data based on preparation of 2008 Tax Returns, February 1 – April 15, 2009

Approximate Number of Taxpayers Assisted:
Tax returns prepared: 3,500
People that only needed information: 700
Total assisted 4,200

Type of Tax Returns Prepared:
Primarily Federal, Maryland & Delaware 2008 returns
Some amended returns for 2007 & 2006

Number of Volunteers:
Certified Counselors: 45
Client Facilitators: 5
Total Volunteers 50

Mid-Shore Locations & Community Partners

Talbot County
Easton Easton Volunteer Fire Department
St Michaels St Michaels Talbot County Free Library
Oxford Oxford Municipal Services
Tilghman Tilghman Volunteer Fire Department (inactive in 2009)

Queen Anne’s County
Centreville Kramer Senior Center
Grasonville Grasonville Senior Center
Grasonville Judy Center & Early Start Program
Stevensville Percy Thomas Center

Caroline County
Denton Denton Caroline County Public Library
Federalsburg Federalsburg Caroline County Public Library
Greensboro Greensboro Caroline County Public Library

Kent County
Chestertown Kent County Board of Education

For further information contact: Scott Yoder John Lawrence
Publicity Coordinator Volunteer Recruiting Coordinator
410-822-8035 410-827-7544
hsyoder2@aol.com taxes@johnlawrence.name