Singing out loud for unsung tax-time heroes

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Admit it. Even though Tax Day expired 30 or so hours ago, your face is still twitching. The anxiety remains painfully fresh.

Well, as much agony as most Americans endure this time each year, think about this: There’s a small army of superheroes who roll up their sleeves and donate untold hours to help us mere mortals across that daunting threshold.

Today we salute Tax-Aide, the amazing outreach program brought to you by AARP. Through the recently completed (whew!) tax season, Tax-Aide troopers assisted scores of citizens from locations in Coeur d’Alene, Post Falls and Rathdrum. They even took care of walk-ins and shut-ins.

While the vast majority of recipients are humble and grateful, tax time can bring out the worst in some folks. Tax-Aide volunteers sometimes take the brunt of abuse, undeserved and, frankly, inexcusable. But the volunteers persevere, guiding lower- and middle-income beneficiaries through bureaucratic and formulaic minefields and delivering them safely on the other side.

When it comes to recognizing thankless jobs, serving as a Tax-Aide volunteer has to challenge for first place. That’s why these beautiful people are getting a shout-out today.

What you might already know is that Tax-Aide’s 32,000+ volunteers assist more than 2 million taxpayers each year. They offer face-to-face help at some 7,000 sites across the nation from Feb. 1 through April 15.

AARP Tax-Aide began in 1968 when four volunteers decided to help older taxpayers complete their tax returns. Since 1980, the program has operated under an agreement with the IRS, according to AARP’s website.

Did you know that Tax-Aide offers free online assistance, answering taxpayers’ questions year-round? This terrific resource operates 24/7. Pose your questions at: aarp.org/taxaide

Even with some 32,000 volunteers, Tax-Aide can always use more. They train their volunteers quickly and effectively. To become an AARP Tax-Aide volunteer, visit aarp.org/taxaide or call 1-888-227-7669.

Thanks, North Idaho Tax-Aide volunteers, for all you do.

• • •

This editorial is dedicated to former Tax-Aide volunteer and all-around gentleman Jim Reitan, who passed away March 7.

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