Pueblo-area senior citizens can get free help filing their taxes, but should be aware of how information is used

Pueblo senior citizens and those with income challenges may be able to get some help with their tax preparation this year, The Pueblo Chieftain reported Feb. 3. One option is the Tax-Aide program offered by AARP. Membership in AARP is not required.

Assistance is available Monday through Thursday, except for snow days in the Pueblo School District 60, at the Senior Resource Development Agency, 2401 W. Northern Ave, the Chieftain said. These are first-come, first-serve, and individuals must sign up.

These services will also be available at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 10 University Circle, from 9 a.m. to noon, on Feb. 29, March 7, 21, and April 4. For more information, call 719-778-5877.

On Feb. 10, the 60 Plus Association released a statement warning senior citizens and other participants to be vigilant about the Tax-Aide program and how their information is used.

The AARP Tax-Aide program has worked with more than 68 million taxpayers over the past 50 years. But former volunteers said that the AARP is putting new policies in place that could require millions of taxpayers to give their private data to the AARP Foundation without protecting it, the 60 Plus Association statement says.

“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, founder and chairman of the American Association of Senior Citizens, said in a press release. “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.”

 AARP receives corporate royalties of almost $1 billion. Almost $700 million is from UnitedHealth, for which the AARP sells Medigap plans, 60 Plus Association notes.

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