Tax-Aide (TA) is a joint venture of the IRS and AARP providing free tax return preparation by volunteer preparers.
No, you do not have to be a member of AARP or any minimum age to have your return prepared at a TA site. Unlike the VITA program, also sponsored by the IRS, there is no maximum income that would make you ineligible to have your return prepared at a TA site. The program is directed to low and middle income taxpayers. There are instances where the complexity of a return may extend beyond the scope of this program, thereby preventing TA from completing the return. For example, TA volunteers are not trained to prepare Schedule E (rentals and royalty), Schedule C (business) and Alternative Minimum Tax returns. TA will complete returns with a W-2, 1099-R, interest, dividends, some 1099-Cs, Schedule D (stock sales) and a variety of other source documents. Go to your local site if you have any questions about your eligibility.
Most sites open Feb 1 (depending on what day(s) of the week they are open), and close on April 15.
Some sites require appointments – others do not accept appointments and taxpayers are served on a first-come first-served basis. In January AARP opens a web site that provides information on every active location, including its hours of operation, days open, and whether an appointment is required.
All of the volunteer tax preparers are certified initially by passing an IRS exam. They are required to pass an exam each year, which includes new tax law and changes from the previous tax season.
Your return will be e-filed at most locations, and your refund can be direct deposited to your financial institution.