The AARP Free Tax Aide program will help you get yours done for free
It’s tax time again, and a group of volunteers want to help you do yours—for free.
Mono County’s free Tax Aide program is run by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) in conjunction with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), but “we don’t have any sort of age requirements,” said Sue Stavlo, District Coordinator, who started Mammoth’s program over seven years ago, after she mentored under Tommy Thompson with Bishop’s program.
When she started the Mammoth program in 2007, about 75 people took advantage of the help of Stavlo and her fellow number crunchers. Last year, the twelve volunteers in Mammoth helped more than 500 low-to-middle income residents to file their taxes, the income bracket that the program is designed for. “But we really don’t have an income cut-off either,” said Cathy Foye, who mostly does client intake for the program. Foye greets newcomers, helps them get their paperwork organized, signs them in, and keeps track of who assists them with her taxes, along with Susie Fontana.
Interestingly enough, Sue Stavlo and her husband John, along with volunteers Jim Sanford and Jean Holden, all worked in aerospace before their “retirement,” which means that it’s possible you’ll literally have a rocket scientist helping you with your taxes if you take advantage of the program.
Sanford told The Sheet that he was once the treasurer for defense and aerospace company Northrop Grumman, and that Holden once worked on the B-2 Stealth Bomber. “Jean is very methodical,” says Sanford, “a very smart deputy for the program.”
Along with volunteering each Monday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoon, most of the volunteers take their work outside with them.
“We do a lot of marketing on the mountain,” said Holden, who mentioned that first-time tax filers are a big component of who they help.
“When I go skiing in April, I always ask the lift operators, ‘Have you done your taxes yet?’”