Need help filing taxes? Free tax preparation services available in Anchorage

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The 2018 tax season is just beginning, and while many Alaskans will wait until April, a few have already filed.

“Certainly filing early is good for several reasons, one of which is fraud,” explained Larry Rundquist, state coordinator with AARP Foundation Tax Aide.

“If the taxpayer files early that means a fraudulent return won’t be filed using their social security number before they have a chance to file.

Along with United Way of Anchorage, AARP on Saturday kicked off the first of many free tax preparation events that will be held in the coming weeks. It’s a service they’ve been offering for about 20 years, and one that’s had a big impact on the community.

Last year the tax prep series helped more than 5,300 Anchorage residents file their taxes, bringing in nearly $7 million in tax refunds. The service is primarily geared towards helping people who would struggle to hire a professional tax preparer.

“Taxes are one of those things, they’re very scary and you definitely don’t want to get audited so you want as much help as you can get but hiring a tax preparer costs a lot of money,” said volunteer Melanie Stone.

Stone has been using AARP’s free tax prep services for year, and now she works as a volunteer at the event, teaching people how to use a free online program that allows you to file your taxes on your own.

“Being able to volunteer here is a really great opportunity to help out the community as well as take advantage of getting my own taxes done,” she said.

Like last year, Americans will have two extra days to file their taxes in 2018 because the usual April 15 deadline happens to fall on a Sunday, and April 16 is Emancipation Day, which is a federal holiday. So the tax deadline this year falls on April 17.

For more information on AARP’s free tax services, click HERE.

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