Mark Harvey — It’s tax time!


Remember the last time you went to the dentist? Think about that.

Remember the last time you stubbed your toe in the dark in the middle of the night, because you were on your way to …Right. Think about that.

Now, remember the last time that you had a physical exam and the doc got to the part about … Think about THAT!

I know — makes talking about taxes sound pretty good, huh?

Well, it’s not that far away, and many of us have to think about it, whether we like it or not, but, Hey! Maybe you’re getting a refund, so it’s all good news! Let’s start with what’s important, which is how to get taxes done, which is enough to send most of us to the dentist in the middle of the night!

Be of good cheer, because (once again) TAX-AIDE is going to bail a lot of us out — once again.

These are the folks who volunteer their time to study tax laws and rules (during the holidays!), then get tested by the IRS to make sure they know what they’re doing, THEN give away major chunks of their lives in order to help us with our taxes — and they do it all for FREE! (That’s what “volunteer” means.) So, let’s start with the logistics, but let me call this out for your special attention: TX-AIDE is moving this year from South Shore mall to the Aberdeen library! Got that? OK, here we go, beginning February 1st through April 15th:

• Aberdeen Library, Mondays and Wednesdays, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

• Ocean Shores Library, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• And at the McCleary Library, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Feb. 6 and 20, March 20 amd April 3, and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Feb. 8 and 22, March 22 and April 5.

To get your heads back around this, TAX-AIDE is sponsored by the IRS and the AARP Foundation. You do NOT have to be a member of AARP! AND, these folks help tax payers of all ages who are low-to-moderate income, which is almost all of us.

What do actually have to do? Well, start by making an appointment (where applicable), then write it down in about three different places, so you won’t forget it: then, gather up photo ID, Social Security cards for taxpayer, spouse and any dependents, W-2’s, 1099’s and any/ALL other documents that you think might pertain to the subject, a check OR bank document with an account number (if you want direct deposit — which would be a smart thing to want) AND your 2012 tax return …

THEN, show up! And chill-out! Look: Yes, you have an appointment, and YES, everybody will be trying to respect that, but the fact is that taxes can be complicated and most of us aren’t accountants, so sometimes these things take a while. The person in front of you is getting the same attention that you’re going to want, so take a book and some munchies and remember that you’re getting away with this for free.

Feel free to thank them; then, feel free to thank them, again.

Now, some of us don’t make enough money to have to pay taxes, and this is about the only time when that constitutes “good news;” BUT, if you have some “earned income” (wages, salary, your own business — whatever), you might qualify for a thing called the “Earned Income Tax Credit.”

Without lulling you into a coma, what this means is that if you have earned income (but not very much of it), you might actually be able to get money back, even if you didn’t make enough money to have to pay taxes at all! But you have to file a tax return to get it! Listen:

If you raked in $37,870 and are single (or $43,210, if “married filing jointly) AND have one qualifying child, you might get $3,250! Here’s another: you made $43,038 ($48,378, if married filing jointly) AND have two qualifying kids, think about $5,372! This could be worth the doing! But, YOU HAVE TO FILE A TAX RETURN TO GET IT!

Obviously, there’s more to this, and you could certainly flit to the IRS web site and search for “Earned Income Tax Credit” and get a whole lot smarter real quick — I just wanted to get your attention.

One more thing: We’ve all heard a lot of HOOP-TEE-DOO about “ObamaCare” and tax penalties. The fact is that said “tax penalties” do NOT kick-in until this year (2014), so they won’t be a “tax factor” until we deal with taxes next year (2015), get it?

OK, now, remember the last time you visited your in-laws in the winter, got snowed in, the power went out and there was no hot water for three days? Think about that.

Getting your taxes done for free by TAX-AIDE will be better than that.

Mark Harvey is the director of Information and Assistance for Olympic Area Agency on Aging. He can be reached at harvemb@dshs.wa.gov or 532-0520 in Aberdeen, (360) 942-2177 in Raymond or (360) 642-3634. FACEBOOK: Olympic Area Agency on Aging-Information &Assistance.

 

Rules for posting comments