MARQUETTE - Tax season is here and senior citizens can find some assistance through their local senior centers.
For instance, free tax assistance is offered starting Tuesday at the Ishpeming Multi-Purpose Senior Center through the Tax Counseling for the Elderly program sponsored by the Internal Revenue Service.
"This program provides taxpayers assistance with preparing federal tax returns, state forms and state tax credit forms, including Homestead Property Tax Credit and Home Heating Tax Credit," said Elyse Bertucci, senior center director, in a prepared statement.
Ellen Korpi and Wes Wentela talk as Wentela works to prepare Korpi’s tax return at the Ishpeming Senior Center in this file photo. Wentela is a volunteer who helps seniors with their tax forms each year. Korpi, then 90, had been getting her taxes done through the center for several years. (Journal file photo by Renee Prusi)
Bertucci said appointments are being made at the center, 320 S. Pine St., and with homebound seniors as well.
"AARP volunteers will be doing tax assistance at Negaunee Senior Center on March 6 and March 20 by appointment only for low- and moderate-income tax-payers who are 60 and older and live in our service area -Negaunee, Negaunee Township and Richmond Township," said Kristy Basolo, Negaunee center director. "The appointments will open up on Feb. 1, and folks can sign up by calling us at 475-6266 on or after that date. There is no charge, but donations are appreciated.
"We are extremely lucky to have AARP volunteers to provide help with taxes and tax credits," Basolo added. "It's a great service to our clients."
Things to know
Something senior should know when getting their taxes done through the services offered at local senior centers is a change for this year: A photo ID is required.
AARP volunteers can NOT do forms for rental income, farm credits, business (except for the CEZ form) and complicated stocks, explained Jane Palmer, Marquette Senior Citizens Center coordinator.
Palmer suggested seniors bring the following items to a tax appointment:
A copy of your completed 2012 tax return (if AARP filed for you last year)
Social Security card
1099-R Form Retirement or Annuity
W-2 Form Work
Unemployment Compensation Statement
SSA 1099 Social Security or if Railroad Retirement bring statement
All 1099 forms
Interest paid to you
Stocks if sold, need to know the ORIGINAL purchase price
All forms showing federal income tax withheld (only if itemizing)
All receipts or canceled checks
How much rent paid and to whom
Bank information (routine information) for refund
Seniors in the service area of the Forsyth Township Senior Center can also receive tax assistance from that center.
"We will be having tax preparation at the Forsyth Senior Center on Feb. 27 and March 13," said Julie Shaw, Forsyth Senior Center Director. "Call 346-9862 to make an appointment.
"I called Kathy Lakenen, the local coordinator for Tax-Aide, which is the program that visits our center, and she said the preparers are trained through AARP and the IRS and these volunteers attend training sessions and then take a big test that they have to pass to be a volunteer."
The same program also will be providing tax help at the Marquette Senior Citizens Center, said Jane Palmer, center coordinator.
"If you are over the age of 60 and need to file state and federal income taxes, as well as the Homestead Property Tax Credit and/or the Home Heating Credit, the Marquette Senior Center is offering free tax assistance," Palmer said. "AARP volunteers Kathy Lakenen and her team of trained assistants will be available by appointment at the Marquette Senior Center beginning in February, March and the beginning of April.
Appointments are being taken at the Marquette center for the following dates, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day: Feb. 12, Feb. 15, Feb. 19, Feb. 22, Feb. 26 and March 1. Appointments are required and can be made by calling the Center at 228-0456.
"We, at the Marquette Senior Center, are extremely fortunate to have such an excellent team of AARP volunteers," Palmer said. "I encourage area seniors to take advantage of the wonderful service. Appointments fill up quickly, so I recommend once you receive all your tax information/documentation, call and make your appointment."
Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253.