Cleveland area residents should take care when choosing a tax preparation service

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Bay Village residents can get help completing their taxes from the AARP Tax-Aide program every Friday between Feb. 7 and April 10, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at the Bay Village Library, according to 

Individuals interested in these appointments should call 440-871-6392. IRS-certified volunteer tax preparers are ready to handle the majority of tax returns, although there are a few that may be more complex than volunteers with the AARP Tax-Aide program can handle.

These programs can be popular with residents who have low-to-moderate income levels, or those who may have other challenges to face when it comes to filing their taxes, but the 60 Plus Association wants Cleveland area residents to be aware that there have been concerns raised by former Tax-Aide volunteers about the security of participants’ information, and what the AARP Foundation might do with the information once an individual’s tax return has been filed.

“There are some very serious red flags regarding the AARP’s tax program, and America’s seniors should be extremely cautious when considering whether or not to participate,” James Martin, chairman and founder of the American Association of Senior Citizens, told Ohio Business Daily. “Volunteers within the program itself have raised significant data and privacy concerns and seniors should be aware of these issues as they make decisions regarding their tax filings.”

According to the 60 Plus Association, the policies in place with Tax-Aide, policies allow the AARP access to participants’ full tax returns, addresses and other sensitive information, and the 60 Plus Association notes that AARP receives royalties from other corporations, nearly $1 billion each year, and that includes almost $700 million for sales of Medigap plans for UnitedHealth.  

The 60 Plus Association urges senior citizens to make sure they understand what preparers and organizations might do with their information.  

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