AARP Foundation Tax-Aide, the nation’s largest free, volunteer-based tax preparation and assistance service, has announced that State of Maine AARP Foundation Tax-Aide sites will not re-open in 2020.

In mid-March, due to COVID-19, the national AARP Foundation Tax-Aide office suspended tax preparation at all tax preparation locations throughout the country. Shortly thereafter, also because of COVID-19, the IRS extended the tax filing deadline from April 15 to July 15.

With the extended deadline, Tax-Aide volunteers in Maine worked together to try to find a way to safely reopen at least some of its tax preparation sites. However, with COVID-19 complications posing a risk to both older taxpayer clients and Tax-Aide volunteers, it has been decided that AARP Tax-Aide sites in Maine will not reopen in 2020.

The program will return in 2021, having had time to make all the modifications deemed necessary to ensure as much as possible the health and safety of both taxpayers and volunteers.

In the meantime, AARP Foundation Tax-Aide offers online options to assist taxpayers affected by the suspension of in-person services:

• A self-prep option, providing taxpayers with free access to software so they can prepare taxes on they own, is available at aarpfoundation.org/preparing-your-taxes-online/.

• If taxpayers have a computer and printer and would like help completing their own taxes, they can request the assistance of a volunteer to coach them through the process via phone or computer screen-sharing. Taxpayers should visit org/forms/tax-prep-assistance-request.html to submit a request.

Although the ‘deadline’ for filing tax returns is usually April 15, taxpayers actually have up to three years to file their federal and state tax returns. As long as there is a refund or no tax due, there are no penalties for filing anytime within the three year period. The failure to file and failure to pay penalties are applied only when a return is filed late and money is owed.

The AARP Foundation Tax-Aide volunteers look forward to seeing both returning and new taxpayers in 2021.

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