Seniors, disabled rely on AARP tax aid program
Posted on 03/11/2019
Marianne Applegate, left, and Ellen Bain greet taxpayers.Marianne Applegate, left, and Ellen Bain greet taxpayers.

It’s tax time and many area seniors are getting a helping hand from a long-standing program that trains volunteers to become IRS-certified tax preparers so they can assist people in need with filing tax returns. About 20 volunteers take the burden off 315 "clients" by completing their returns or assisting in others ways in the comfort of the Northville Community Center.

AARP Foundation Tax-Aide is a free service to seniors (over 60) and others in need but they must sign up in December or January for an appointment in February through mid April. The Northville program is booked for this year. Taxpayers get a copy of their e-filed returns, and peace of mind knowing that their tax returns have been filed at both the state and federal (IRS) offices.

man at computer looking at client


Tax aide Jim Mlynarczyk assists Allen Terrace resident Inez Johnson with her taxes. 

Having appointments to have their taxes done – similar to a doctor’s appointment or hair stylist appointment – is less stressful than the first-come, first-serve programs that some other communities operate by, noted Ann Creviston, who has used the program for years.

She had such high praise for the program that her friend, Penny Brugman, had her taxes done there for the first time. “It’s wonderful that people volunteer to do this – not only those who do the tax forms but others who help out,” Brugman said.

Brugman and Creviston are happy to be getting tax refunds, and may spend it by going on trips together. In February, they drove from Michigan to Arizona to escape some of the winter’s worst weather.

Maureen Trombley is another satisfied recipient of tax services. “I like the convenience. I go early to get the application form and fill it out so it’s complete at my visit.”

Her mother passed away in June 2018 at the age of 102, and Trombley was able to get her mother’s tax return done through the AARP program. When her mother was living, they would go together to the Community Center to get their taxes done.

“They were all very friendly and knowledgeable and efficient. I never had a problem,” Trombley said. “They take an interest in you – It’s a nice small town feeling. It’s much nicer than if I had to go to one of the bigger tax places.”

Trombley is getting a tax refund this year and plans to sock it away for her summer taxes on her house. If the program didn’t exist, she would have to either do it herself or pay a tax preparer.

Another woman, who wanted to remain anonymous, said that she’s been struggling financially ever since her divorce 30 years ago. She managed to help put her three kids through college and take care of her parents during that time.

“I’ve come to a point where I so appreciate them for the generosity of their time and effort for those who clearly need help,” she said. “I’m in a better position now, but the volunteers should know how important their role is in some people’s lives. That’s huge. It really was for me.”

If the program wasn’t available, she would have to pay a tax preparer to do her taxes. For people who are on a fixed income, this program is a real gem.

Tax Aides

Tax aides Lois Beerbaum and Steve Loyd assist client Eric McClain.