AARP seeks tax preparers

December 26, 2002|by STACEY DANZUSO

CHAMBERSBURG - If you know how to fill out your own tax forms, the Chambersburg and Waynesboro, Pa., branches of the AARP can use your help.

For two decades, each organization has sponsored a tax counseling program for senior citizens and those with low incomes, offering free assistance in filling out tax returns.

Bob Proctor, district coordinator for northern Franklin County, said he got involved 12 years ago when he heard the AARP needed volunteers.


"I prepared my own taxes and worked in the naval nuclear program for 20 years. I got into it because paperwork doesn't scare me," Proctor said. "A lot of people are just scared of paper."

The program originated 35 years ago under the Internal Revenue Service, but AARP began administering it in Chambersburg 25 years ago, and at least 18 years ago in Waynesboro.

On average, 50 volunteers in Chambersburg prepare 3,000 returns a year. Volunteers do not have to have a finance background, but must pass an IRS open-book test on tax law and attend several classes in January, Proctor said.

Classes are Jan. 13, 14, 16 and 17. Volunteers are asked to give four hours a week.

Chambersburg volunteers will set up in two locations from Feb. 3 to April 15. They will staff the Eugene C. Clark Jr. Recreation Center, 235 S. Third St., on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and American Legion Post 46, 755 Philadelphia Ave., on Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

"We are really looking for someone with experience preparing their own taxes. We're not going to start from scratch," Proctor said.

Volunteers will prepare taxes with itemized deductions, interest dividends, pensions and stock sales. They will not handle foreign incomes, rental properties or prepare taxes for a for-profit business, Proctor said.

He said every return is checked by someone else for accuracy.

"Someone doesn't need to feel they are the only one responsible," he said.

Volunteers in both Chambersburg and Waynesboro will go to nursing homes and to residents who are homebound, said Proctor and Warren Tomlinson, who coordinates the program in Waynesboro.

"People who can't make it to the counseling site, we go out to see them," Tomlinson said.

He said about 16 volunteers prepared more than 1,000 returns last year in the Waynesboro area.

They again will set up at the Evangelical Lutheran Church at 43 S. Church St. on Tuesdays and Thursdays from Feb. 4 to April 10, from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For more information on volunteering in Chambersburg, contact Proctor at 717-264-0635 or Jerry Frola at 717-352-4975. In Waynesboro, call Tomlinson at 717-762-5831.

Tax help dates set

Senior citizens and residents with low incomes can receive help preparing their tax returns from the Chambersburg, Pa., and Waynesboro, Pa., branches of the AARP at the following locations:

  • The Eugene C. Clark Jr. Recreation Center, 235 S. Third St., Chambersburg, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, Feb. 3 to April 15.

  • American Legion Post 46, 755 Philadelphia Ave., Chambersburg, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays, Feb. 3 to April 15.

  • Evangelical Lutheran Church, 43 S. Church St., Waynesboro, 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, Feb. 4 to April 10.
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