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There are many worthwhile organizations, programs and activities in Harford County that rely solely on volunteer power to serve residents of our community.

One such program that has been helping senior citizens and disabled citizens for a quarter-century is AARP Tax-Aide, which prepares personal state and local income tax returns free of charge for those segments of the local population.

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The program is a service of the American Association of Retired Persons Foundation in cooperation with the IRS and is supported locally by the the Harford County Office on Aging.

Tax-Aide would not exist or continue to flourish as it has in Harford County without a group of dedicated volunteers who handle the tax preparation each winter and early spring. Most of these folks are retired, as are the majority of those whom they help. The volunteers are required to take training from Tax-Aide and they don’t get a dime for the services the render.

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The AARP Foundation’s Tax-Aide is the largest free tax preparation and assistance service available to taxpayers nationwide, according to information from the Harford program’s chief spokesman, Joe Daniloski.

Services offered to taxpayers in Harford County are tax preparation and electronic filing of federal and Maryland tax returns, limited to personal returns only. Tax-Aide clients do not have to be AARP members to participate.

The way the program works locally, is clients call in for an appointment at one of several locations around the county, including Aberdeen, Bel Air, Edgewood, Havre de Grace, Joppa, and Whiteford. On a very limited basis, tax preparation can also be arranged for shut-ins and other people who cannot travel to one of our fixed sites.

The key upcoming date for the Tax-Aide program is Monday, Jan. 22, when the program will begin accepting scheduling phone calls from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. More will be publicized about the program in The Aegis and at www.harford.com as that date approaches. The line can get busy, and callers are asked to keep trying.

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For people who can’t schedule a visit to one of the fixed sites, Harford County Tax-Aide will host its 11th annual Maryland Tax Day on Saturday, Feb. 24, from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., at the Mountain Christian Church New Life Center in Joppa. On this day only, no prior appointment will be required, and tax returns will be prepared on a first come, first served basis.

This is a wonderful program that is a big help to many Harford County residents, thanks again to those dedicated Tax-Aide volunteers.

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