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AARP Tax Assistance

A group of AARP members standing in front of a fence.

“As one of only two AARP Foundation Tax-Aide District Coordinators for Queens, I supervised 24 volunteers who prepared FREE tax returns at the Tanenbaum Family Pool. Our goal is to help the taxpayers in our communities.

My amazing volunteers prepared almost 300 tax returns! Without Commonpoint, the number would have been ZERO. Having spent weeks training for the tax year, these volunteers were anxious to start working.

They repeat how lucky they feel to have found the Commonpoint Queens Sam Field Center and the Tanenbaum Family Pool. It was the only large, safe place available for them to prepare taxes  during the pandemic. We owe everything we did this year to Commonpoint. It was necessary to meet our low-income and elderly taxpayers in person. We learned last year that the option of preparing tax returns virtually did not work for them.

By sending out 200+ leaflets to their food pantry clients, posting flyers, and referring additional program participants to us, Commonpoint ensured that we had a productive season. The taxpayers we helped came from areas throughout Queens. They included low-income, homebound, and non-English speakers. Sometimes residents needed advice with nontax issues. Our various  backgrounds enabled us to answer questions about applications for real estate tax reductions for the elderly, undocumented registrations with IRS, Social Security, and other senior issues.

Many elderly clients who called are on Social Security only and are not required to file federal or state taxes. They were advised to complete a simple form NYC210 that entitles them to $63.00 ($125 per couple) just for living n New York City. Most of them were able to fill out 4 years of this form netting them $252.00 for singles, $500 for couples. Many NYC residents were not aware of this until they called us—again through Commonpoint.

One of our most inspiring volunteers is Fred C. He has been volunteering with AARP Tax-Aide for 29 years and will soon celebrate his 92nd birthday. He shared, “I enjoy helping others and it helps me, keeping me sharp.” He is just one of the many amazing Tax-Aide volunteers who worked at Commonpoint Queens this year.” —Lucette