Income Tax Preparation
Each year, between February and April, certified AARP volunteers and Community Action staff members provide hundreds of Topeka and Shawnee County residents with annual income tax preparation assistance. The service is provided free of charge. Trained preparers help area residents sort through new tax laws and regulations, complete all necessary forms, and ensure personal taxes are filed on time. The service also focuses on maximizing returns and helping qualified households access tax benefits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit. Most returns can be e-filed. Refunds arrive between 8-15 days. Spanish translation services for tax preparation are available too.
Predatory lenders bombard low-income households and senior adults with alluring opportunities for “rapid refund loans” and “refund credit cards,” many of which carry fees and user rates equivalent of up to 170 – 300%. Additionally, tax preparation fees are often high, and almost always non-transparent, making it nearly impossible for consumers to comparison shop. Tax preparers can charge up to $500 or more in fees, yet many will claim they cannot give a price quote or will give inaccurate estimates. The GAO’s 2014 report found that the fees charged for tax preparation varied widely, even between offices affiliated with the same chain.
WHY WE DO IT
By providing community members with a free, reliable alternative, AARP and Community Action are building trusting relationships with customers and saving households valuable resources.
DO I QUALIFY?
- Free tax services are available to Shawnee County residents.
- Only personal income taxes can be filed; individuals with businesses are advised to seek assistance through alternative resources.
- Location sites and service dates vary from year to year. Check our events calendar to see if current or upcoming dates have been announced, along with information and documents required to complete your return.