Tax filing at its very simplest boils down to two key tasks. There is having all your documents in order - which can turn into quite the scavenger hunt. And then, as if you weren't already tired, there’s also knowing the credits and deductions that you are qualified for, and any possible penalties coming your way. Two tasks, sure - but what work to complete each one! It's easy to see why there are dedicated professionals who do this for a living. Yet, reclaimed money that could otherwise help out with bills or grocery costs just ends up paying the consulting fees. Thankfully, your options aren't only to file independently or hire someone to do them for you. This tax season just as in previous years, Southwest Washington and Portland area AARP Tax Aides are generously donating their tax expertise. All you need to worry about are the documents: they’ll help you with the rest.
Things to consider
To get the ball rolling in thinking about how you will file, have you already purchased health care coverage for 2015? In a recent 211info blog post, we went over its tax implications. If you are curious, check it out. Another point of consideration deals with how your income plays to your advantage. The Department of Commerce and partnering agencies are promoting the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which if you qualify, holds the potential of thousands of dollars in refunds. AARP Tax Aide locations are reaching out to families with low to moderate incomes to educate them about the credit and motivate them to claim their rightful refund. Claiming the EITC could put a staggering $6,143 back in your pocket, which is absolutely worth claiming. Add to it free tax preparation and filing assistance, and you are well on your way to making the most out of tax season. Here are the details:
Tax assistance locations:
Note: Walk-ins are accepted unless otherwise stated.
Battle Ground Community Library
1207 SE 7th Way, Battle Ground, WA 98604 (in Battle Ground Village)
Wednesdays, 3pm - 7pm & Fridays, 1pm - 5pm
Clark Public Safety Complex
505 NW 179th St, Ridgefield, WA 98642
Friday, March 6 only, 11am - 3pm
Camas Public Library
625 NE 4th Ave, Camas, WA 98607
Thursdays, 11am - 3pm & Saturdays, 11am - 3pm, (only Mar. 7, and 21, April 4)
Cascade Park Community Library
600 NE 136th Ave, Vancouver, WA 98684 Community Room
Tuesdays & Wednesdays, 12pm - 4pm
Vancouver Community Library
901 C St, Vancouver, WA 98660
Mondays, 10am - 6pm, Wednesdays, 2pm - 6pm, & Saturdays, 10am - 4pm
Spanish interpreter will be available most days.
Community Housing Resource Center (CHRC)
103 E 29th St, Vancouver, WA 98663
Saturdays: March 14 and 28, April 11
11am - 3pm
Marshall Community Center
1009 E McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver, WA 98663
Tuesdays & Fridays, 12pm - 4pm
Three Creeks Community Library
800-C NE Tenney Rd, Vancouver, WA 98685
Tuesdays & Wednesdays, 1 pm to 5 pm, Thursdays 3pm - 7pm
Stevenson Community Library
120 NW Vancouver Ave, Stevenson, WA 98648
Saturdays: Mar. 14 and 28, April 11
11am - 3pm
805 SE 122nd Ave, Portland, OR 97233
Fridays, 12pm - 4pm & Saturdays, 12pm - 4pm
Appointment Required, (503) 988-5392
6008 SE 49th Ave, Portland, OR 97206
Saturdays, 12pm - 5pm
Multicultural Senior Center
5325 NE MLK Blvd, Portland, OR 97211
Fridays, 9am - 1pm
Appointments preferred, (503) 988-5470
Sellwood Community Center
1436 SE Spokane St, Portland, OR 97202
Tuesdays, 9am - 1pm
Call (503) 823-3195 for appointment. Walk ins accepted on space available basis.
385 NW Miller Ave, Gresham, OR 97030
Wednesdays, 12pm - 5pm
Appointment required, (503) 988-5387
1737 NW 26th Ave, Portland, OR 97210
Mondays & Thursdays, 9am - 1:30pm, Saturdays, 9 - 3pm
Appointment required, (503) 224-2640
Mt. Scott Community Center
5530 SE 72nd Ave, Portland, OR 97206
Saturdays, 9am - 1pm
Salvation Army Rose Center
211 NE 18th Ave, Portland, OR 97232
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 9am - 2pm
Appointments required, call (503) 239-1221 or schedule at the desk.
Impact NW Seniors & Disability Services
4610 SE Belmont St, Portland, OR 97215
Appointment required, (503) 988-6300
Closed March 24
Tualatin Public Library
18880 SW Martinazzi Ave, Tualatin, OR 97062
Saturdays, 10am - 3:30pm
Appointment required, (503) 691-3074
Marjorie Stewart Senior Center
21907 SW Sherwood Blvd, Sherwood, OR 97140
Tuesdays, 9am - 4pm
Appointment required, (503) 625-5644
Tigard Senior Center
8815 SW Omara St, Tigard, OR 97223
Tuesdays 8:30am - 3:30pm
Appointment required, (503) 620-4613
Tigard Public Library
13500 SW Hall Blvd, Tigard, OR 97223
Fridays & Saturdays, 10am - 4pm & Sundays, 12pm - 4pm
Spanish language assistance available on Saturdays and Sundays.
Appointment required, (503) 684-6537
Hillsboro Main Library
2850 NE Brookwood Pkwy, Hillsboro, OR 97124
Mondays & Tuesdays, 8am - 6pm
- Government issued photo identification for the taxpayer, and the spouse if present at the time of the appointment
- Social Security identification card, Medicare Card with “A”, SSA 1099, RRB 1099 R, CSA 1099 AR or CSF 1099R. This is needed for the taxpayer and each person that will be listed on the tax return (e.g. spouse, children, parent, or other relative that may be listed as a dependent).
- If possible, the prior year tax return with all attachments and schedules. (The current tax year booklets are NOT required).
- All income documents for 2014 including W-2's, interest and dividend statements (1099- INT and 1099-DIV), Social Security statements (SSA-1099), Retirement income (1099-R, 1099-RRB, etc.), and other income such as self-employed business income (1099-MISC), jury duty pay, prior year state tax refunds, unemployment income (1099-G) and gambling income. (Note: Records of gambling losses should also be provided if there is gambling income). Not: monthly wage statements, estimated earnings, check statements showing automatic deposits.
- Documentation of investment income such as 1099-B and/or combined brokerage statements. Documentation of the date and price of acquisition and sale of capital assets such as stocks, bonds is required.
- To claim dependent or child care including name, provide the care givers name, address, payments, and the Employer Identification Number (EIN) or Social Security Number (SSN).
- 1098T to claim an education expense.
- 1095A – Health Insurance Marketplace Statement (ACA)
- 1099SA – Distributions from an HSA (and any other related documents)
- 1098 for mortgages showing interest and real property taxes. (If property taxes are not listed on the 1098, bring other proof of taxes paid.)
- Itemized statement for each category of expenses to be claimed, such as:
- Prescriptions, Medical Copays, Medical insurance, Sales Taxes paid, amount of cash or the value of goods donated (date and organization), miles driven for medical purposes, miles driven for charitable organizations, employee expenses.
- Voided check showing routing number and account number for automatic deposits or withdrawals (Alternative: letter from the financial institution with the account information)
Hint: check last year’s return to see if there are other categories of income, expense, credits that you may be able to claim in 2014. If so, bring the documentation.
For more Information
You can visit the AARP Tax Aide website for more information or to find tax assistance locations in your neighborhood. You can also of course dial 2-1-1 or use 211info.org to find more information on this resource or learn about thousands of resources all over Oregon and SW Washington.