Tax season is just around the corner, and local volunteers are gearing up to provide free tax help to seniors starting in February.

The AARP Tax-Aide program provides free tax help with filling out state and federal income-tax returns to seniors, as well as low- and moderate-income taxpayers.

New volunteers who have signed up to help will receive six days of training in January on how to gather information for tax returns and work with a computer software program used to fill out returns. After receiving the required training, the volunteers take a test to become IRS-certified tax counselors.

Mike Callahan is a 74-year-old retired software professional and Clayton resident who has been a Tax-Aide volunteer for 18 years.

"I have always done my own taxes, and I needed a volunteer activity and thought that I could help out people (who cannot afford to pay a tax preparation firm) or who can't do their own taxes. Taxes are not that simple," he said.

Tax-Aide locations in East County will start offering tax-preparation services in February through senior centers in Antioch, Brentwood and Pittsburg. For more information, contact Sally Mecham, Tax-Aide publicity coordinator, at 925-684-3505 or mechamrs@pacbell.net

Contact Eve Mitchell at 925-779-7189. Follow her on Twitter.com/EastCounty_Girl.



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