The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Local News

March 7, 2014

Volunteers assist residents with one of life’s certainties

Thursday, March 6, 2014 — It’s that time of year again. Time to break out the W-2s, the W-9s, the 1099-DIVs and the 1099-MISCs.

“Taxes can get very complicated, very quickly,” Walt Deppy, director of the AARP’s tax aide appointments in Stanly County, said.

“So we help out.”

While most people only get near taxes when they have to, Deppy said he and the 19 other volunteers this year will be digging into the nitty gritty world of tax returns for the next month.

Appointments for their free services began a few weeks ago and will continue through April 14.

Any individual over the age of 60 with a low to moderate income qualifies and can schedule an appointment for 9-11 a.m. any Monday or Thursday by calling (704) 986-3813.

“We’ll see about 350 people during that time, about 18 a day,” Deppy said.

They’ll help another 80 in Troy and Wadesboro.

“It’s a lot of work, but when you work half a day, it’s not as stressful,” Deppy said.

“After four or five hours, it starts to get a little crazy.”

The volunteers began their training in January for the tax aide sessions.

“They did six four-hour sessions that month and now they come out every week to help,” Deppy said.

“Their help is much appreciated and much needed.”

When Deppy began helping about nine years ago, they did about 10 or 11 appointments a week, 200-230 total.

“We saw 300 people total last year,” Deppy said.

“This year we’ll see 50 more.”

And that’s not counting those appointments outside the county.

“The computers and the Internet help a lot with that,” Deppy said.

“It’s a lot quicker.”

It’s also a lot more secure, he said. Now that they can instantaneously send information to the IRS via the Internet, they do not have to keep any hard copies or computers locked away at the Senior Center.

“There was always the possibility that someone could break in and take that stuff,” Deppy said.

Though it did take a while to get used to the computer system, he said now that he and the other volunteers understand it, they can focus more on what they do best.

“They’ve been a huge help to me.” Vickie Webb said.

It was her first time at the tax aide appointments.

“I just found out I’ll be getting money back from the state,” Webb said.

“We’ll find out about the federal in a minute. It’s wonderful that they do this.”

Annie Curlee of Aquadale said she and her husband have been coming to the tax appointments for years.

“Me and my husband both get a check every year and we have to pay taxes on them,” she said.

“If we come up here and file our tax return, we can get some of that back. Every little bit helps when you’re retired.”

Tax-aide volunteer Paul Roberts said that is why he and the others come out every year.

“If you have time to help, then you should help,” Roberts said.

“We’re just doing what we can.”

That and they just enjoy talking with people, he added.

“We have a pretty good time up here,” he said.

“Who said taxes can’t be a little fun?”

To submit story ideas, contact Shannon Beamon at (704) 982-2121 ext. 24 or at shannon@stanlynewspress.com.

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