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Volunteers to begin filing taxes free of charge

Local AARP/Mahube Tax Aide volunteers are, from left, Karen Lenius, Debbie Brattlof, Linda Rogers, Tammie Hilden, Archie Henderson and Kay Smythe with trainer Andrea Osborne. The volunteers will begin work Feb. 1, filing income taxes for low to moderate income residents. (Riham Feshir / Enterprise)

Archie Henderson of Osage has been giving tax advice and filing returns since 1949.

As an administrative officer in the military, when it was time to file for tax returns, he was the go-to man.

"It was very cut and dry at first," Henderson said. "It was your salary, your exemptions. You can file everything on one sheet."

Now it's gotten more complicated but all done electronically, he added.

Henderson has been a volunteer for the AARP/Mahube Tax Aide program for 12 years. Starting Feb. 1, he will begin filing hundreds more of tax returns for area residents.

"I'm a retired person," he said. "The military was good to me, I feel like I have something to give back to my country."

Individuals and families looking to file their income taxes free of charge can start making appointments Monday, Jan. 25.

Volunteers working with the AARP/Mahube Tax Aide Program have completed their training and are now certified to begin work.

No income qualifying documentations are required, but the organization will assist residents who are considered low to moderate income.

Because the organization is affiliated with AARP, most residents who've participated over the years are part of the elderly population, local coordinator Tammie Hilden said.

She's been a volunteer for five years and last year, she said a total of about 980 federal returns were filed locally with the program.

She said seeing the clients leave the appointments less confused than when they walked in has been satisfying.

"You can actually see the relief," Hilden said. "They say OK, it's done, and put it away for another year."

Appointments will be taken for Monday, Wednesday or Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the Mahube Community Council office in Park Rapids. Each appointment lasts about an hour.

Saturday appointments can be made between 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at the Park Rapids Area Library.

To make an appointment, call 732-7204.