AARP offers free tax service to all ages in Burnet and Marble Falls

JENNIFER FIERRO • STAFF WRITER

Jack Tibbetts, the Marble Falls tax preparation coordinator for AARP’s free tax service, is ready to ensure Highland Lakes residents get their maximum refund. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro

Jack Tibbetts, the Marble Falls tax preparation coordinator for AARP’s free tax service, is ready to ensure Highland Lakes residents get their maximum refund. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro

MARBLE FALLS — Many people dread tax season, putting off filing until the last day.

Ninety-year-old Jack Tibbetts isn’t one of those people.

“I enjoy doing taxes,” said the Marble Falls tax preparation coordinator for AARP’s free tax service. “And it’s a big help to people. It’s a shame to have to go pay somebody to get money that’s being withheld.”

Tibbetts and other volunteer IRS-certified tax preparers will be at the Boys & Girls Club of the Highland Lakes-Marble Falls unit, 1701 Broadway, from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, Feb. 2-April 13. The service won’t be offered on March 14 and 16.

Along with helping people during tax season, Tibbets is also the second vice president on the board of The Helping Center of Marble Falls and is active in his church.

Since he began volunteering for the free tax preparation service 26 years ago, he has submitted about 8,000 returns, he said.

While Tibbetts is overseeing the Marble Falls service, Judy Fiene will be coordinating the effort in Burnet at the Hill Country Community Foundation Building, 402 E. Jackson St., from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Mondays, Feb. 6-April 10, except on Feb. 27, when it will be held at the Herman Brown Free Library, 100 E. Washington.

Although it is provided by the AARP, an organization for those 50 and older, the tax service is open to everyone.

“It’s a wonderful service, and (people) don’t have to be retired (to take advantage of it),” said Fiene, who is in her ninth year of volunteering. “We do it for anybody. We want to help them keep as much of their money through the refund.”

Make sure to bring all tax forms, including a W2, a 1099, statements that show interest, individual retirement accounts, and Social Security information. Equally important are a driver’s license, Social Security cards of filers and dependents, and heath insurance statements.

The service is using a different website to file the taxes this year, so be prepared for possible hiccups.

“It’ll be a lot slower because we’re all using a new software,” Fiene said. “We’re starting from scratch, so it’s extremely important they bring their identifications cards.”

Last year, the volunteers filed 900 returns from the two locations.

“We’re helping a lot of people to maximize their refund, so they don’t pay for a service and lose their refunds,” Fiene said. “Everybody has to pay taxes. If you’re working, you have to do a tax return.”

Even those who do their own taxes might want to try the service, Fiene said. She noted that her son does his own taxes but allowed her to review his work last year. She found him some exemptions he had missed.

The two coordinators help the single parent, the retiree, and even couples with young children and know it is important to those individuals to receive their refunds.

“We get a variety of people,” she said. “Those who desperately need the refund, head of households. That’s their savings for the year.”

Email Fiene at fudy53@gmail.com or Tibbetts at jtibbs4@verizon.net for more information.

jfierro@thepicayune.com

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