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April 6, 2013

Volunteers boost tax help progam

If you still need some help filing your income taxes, some free assistance is available to Cape Ann residents until next Friday.

The AARP Foundation and SeniorCare RSVP volunteers are staffing several locations on several days of the week to assist residents with their taxes.

The volunteers have reported that they’ve had lots of people come by the various locations in the area to get help since February, when the program starts.

“It’s been fun,” but they really sense it now that the season is almost over, said volunteer coordinator Trish Roach of Gloucester on Friday at the Rose Baker Senior Center. There, the movie viewing room has been transformed into a room for income tax processing.

Roach said that if people who need help with their taxes are ill or can’t get it done by the deadline of April 16, they should immediately call the Rose Baker Senior Center at (978)-281-9765 and the center will get the volunteers to help them in the off-season.

Roach urges people who are interested in volunteering next year to contact SeniorCare RSVP at 978-281-1750. Volunteers receive training in January and start on or around Feb. 1 to help residents. “The program functions because of volunteers,” she said.

Also, Roach wants people to know about a program for people over 65 that can be very helpful, and for which they can get help. It’s the Circuit Breaker program for Massachusetts senior citizens.

If someone owns a house and is over 65, and calculates that their real estate tax and half of their water and sewer rates are more than 10 percent of their income, they could get up to $1,000 back from Massachusetts when they file.

Additionally, if a person over 65 rents an apartment and 25 percent of the rent is 10 percent more than their income (as long as it’s not subsidized), that person can also get up to $1,000 back, Roach said.

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