Many locations in the metro-east are offering free tax preparation for low-income residents and seniors.
Some of these locations are being run by volunteers from AARP’s Tax-Aide program. This program is the largest free tax assistance and preparation service in the nation, according to the AARP. It has served approximately 50 million taxpayers in the last 50 years.
It’s open to anyone but aimed at low-income people and those who are 60 years and older. However, the group may turn those away who require special tax services beyond the group’s expertise.
Pat Sharkey, the District Five local coordinator for the AARP’s Tax-Aide program, is looking for more volunteers to participate as tax counselors and greeters at various locations in the metro-east.
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Tax counselors are certified with the IRS. Greeters assist those who come to the Tax-Aide locations — welcoming them and helping organize tax papers in preparation to see the tax counselors.
Sharkey said this free program would not be available to the public without the generosity of Southwestern Illinois College, donating the space for the PSOP location and paying for the upkeep of the building.
To volunteer with AARP Tax-Aide, call 888-227-7669 or go online to aarp.org.
Other metro-east locations have volunteers from the Gateway EITC Community Coalition. Like the AARP program, the coalition provides free tax preparation services for low-income individuals and families.
Times and participation requirements vary by location. Some require appointments; other sites are walk-in only.
Remember to bring important tax-related documents like the previous year’s tax return, social security cards, photo identification for each taxpayer, W-2s and more, to complete your taxes.
Be aware that many tax scams are perpetuated on the public during tax season.
Something to be aware of, Sharkey said, is the IRS will never call on the phone with tax questions. They will always send a letter.
Taxpayers who question the source of letters from the IRS may take it to any IRS location to have it authenticated.
Here’s some of the metro-east locations for free tax preparation:
▪ PSOP, 201 N. Church St., Belleville. Appointment required. 8:30 a.m. to noon Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday. Feb. 2 to April 17. 618-277-5511.
▪ Hayner Public Library, 201 Alton Square, Alton. Appointment required. Noon to 3 p.m. Wednesday. Feb. 7 to April 11. 618-462-0677, ext. 2.
▪ Senior Services Plus, Inc., 2603 N. Rodgers Ave., Alton. Appointment required, must be 55 years or older. 8 to 11 a.m. Monday, 7 to 11 a.m. Friday. Feb. 2 to April 13. 618-465-3298.
▪ Bethalto Public Library at Cedarhurt, 903 N. Moreland Road, Bethalto. Walk-ins welcome. 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday. Feb. 1 to April 11. 618-259-7618.
▪ Cahokia Public Library, 140 Cahokia Park Drive, Cahokia. Walk-in only. No appointments. 1 to 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday. Feb. 1 to April 12. 618-332-1491.
▪ Calumet Street Christian Center, 2240 E. Calumet St., Centralia. Appointment required. 9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. Feb. 6 to April 12. 618-533-8890.
▪ Collinsville Township Senior Center, 420 E. Main St., Collinsville. Walk-ins welcome. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday. Feb. 1 to April 17. 618-344-7787.
▪ Columbia Public Library, 106 N. Metter Ave., Columbia. Appointment required. 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday and Thursday. Feb. 5 to April 16. 618-281-4237.
▪ East Alton Public Library, 250 Washington Ave., East Alton. Walk-ins welcome. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday and Tuesday. Feb. 1 to April 10. 618-259-1891.
East St. Louis
▪ Associated Bank of East St. Louis, 326 Missouri Ave., East St. Louis. Appointment required. 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday and Friday. Feb. 2 to April 13. 618-875-5300.
▪ Family Development Center, 1045 State St., East St. Louis. Walk-ins only, no appointments. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 3 to April 14. 618-875-2211.
▪ New Bethel Missionary Baptist Church, 5803 Belmont Ave., East St. Louis. Walk-ins only. Doors open 4 p.m. Tax preparation from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, doors open 9 a.m. Tax preparation from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 27 to April 14. 618-397-8155.
▪ St. Vincent De Paul, 3718 State St., East St. Louis. Walk-ins only. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. Feb. 3 to April 13. 618-394-0126.
▪ Main Street Community Center, 1003 N. Main St., Edwardsville. Appointment required. 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, Feb. 17 and 24, March 17 and 24, April 7. 618-656-0300.
▪ Caseyville Township, 10001 Bunkum Road, Fairview Heights. Appointment required. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, Feb. 6 to April 17. 618-398-6248.
▪ Fairmont City Library, 4444 Collinsville Road, Fairmont City. Walk-ins welcome. 2 to 6 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 6 to April 11. 618-344-1112.
▪ Glen Carbon Public Library, 198 S. Main St., Glen Carbon. First come, first served. 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday. Jan. 31 to March 28. 618-288-1212.
▪ Alton Area Tax Project: Lewis and Clark Community College, The Daisy and Roger B. Templin Nursing Building, 5800 Godfrey Road, Godfrey. Walk-ins only. 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. Jan. 27 to April 14.
▪ Grace Baptist Church, 2600 Edwards St., Granite City. Walk-ins welcome. 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 1 to April 2. 618-975-6600.
▪ Knights of Columbus, 4225 Old Alton Road, Granite City. Walk-ins welcome. 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 1 to April 12. 618-975-6600.
▪ Moose Club 272, 2521 Maryville Road, Granite City. Walk-ins welcome. 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 1 to April 12. 618-975-6600.
▪ Six Mile Regional Library District, 2001 Delmar Ave., Granite City. Appointment required. 9 a.m. to 10:40 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday. Feb. 3 to April 7. 618-452-6238.
▪ Bond County Senior Center, 1001 E. Harris Ave., Greenville. Walk-ins welcome. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. Feb. 6 to April 10. 618-664-1465.
▪ Marissa Public Library, 212 N. Main St., Marissa. Appointment required. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Friday. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday. 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. Feb. 1 to April 17. 618-295-2825.
▪ Mascoutah Senior Center, 227 N. Market St., Mascoutah. Appointment required. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, Feb. 5 to April 9. 618-566-8758.
▪ Millstadt Nutrition Center, 102 S. Jefferson St., Millstadt. Appointment required. 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Thursday. Feb. 1 to April 12. 618-476-3731.
▪ O’Fallon Public Library, 120 Civic Plaza, O’Fallon. Appointment required. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Feb. 1 to April 17. 618-632-3783.
▪ Cornerstone Christian Church, 775 N. Green Mount Road, Shiloh. Appointments must be made online: onecornerstone.org/vita. 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday. Jan. 27 to April 14. 618-239-9710.
▪ Tri-Township Public Library, 209 S. Main St., Troy. Appointment required. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday and Friday, Feb. 7 to April 13. 618-667-2133.
▪ Waterloo Senior Center, 207 W. 4th St., Waterloo. Appointment required. 8 a.m. to noon, Tuesday-Thursday, Feb. 6 to April 17. 618-939-8880.
▪ Wood River Public Library, 326 E. Ferguson Ave., Wood River. Walk-ins welcome. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 1 to April 5. 618-259-7618.
BND reporter Elizabeth Donald contributed to this report.