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Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Tax assistance programs mostly virtual this year

Before the pandemic, AARP volunteers assisted taxpayers at the Mason Government Center.
The AARP Tax Aide program is underway to help people file their taxes, but there are new procedures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

People must have appointments this year, Mason Supervisor Penny Gross reports in her newsletter to residents. No walk-ins are allowed, and appointments are limited to 15 minutes. 

To register for an appointment, residents must complete a Tax Preparation Intake Packet. The packet can be downloaded here and printed or can be picked up inside the entry door by the bulletin board at the Mason Government Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale.

The packet must be filled out completely. You then must assemble paper copies of your documents and call the number listed on the packet to make an appointment and get directions to the new temporary location of the Tax Aide volunteers. 

At the first appointment, volunteers will check the documents for completeness, scan them, and store them securely in the cloud. IRS-certified counselors will prepare the tax return and call you to discuss the return and answer questions. 

You will then come back for a second appointment to review, sign, and receive a copy of your completed tax return. Bring all tax material to this appointment. 

Virginia’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA), which provides free tax preparation to low-income families, and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly program (TCE) for those 60+, will only be available at a limited number of sites this year, due to the pandemic. 

The only location near Mason District is the Enterprise Development Group, 901 S. Highland St. in Arlington, 571-321-6976.

Instead of traditional in-person help with taxes, VITA and TCE are connecting eligible taxpayers with IRS-certified volunteers to walk them through the tax forms on the phone. 

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