Free tax help provided across Minnesota

$1 billion in tax refunds unclaimed last year

By John Michaelson
Minnesota News Connection

It’s estimated that about a billion dollars in tax refunds go unclaimed each year, but a service statewide is helping Minnesotans get back their money — and it’s all free of charge. Hundreds of volunteers across Minnesota are offering free preparation of basic state and federal returns through the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program.

According to state coordinator Judy LaBroffe, all have training and the latest tools.

“Between the software and the training and the flow charts that we can follow, we’re pretty much able to handle just about anything somebody’s got and to make sure that they get the credits they deserve,” she said.

The Tax-Aide program has been around for more than four decades. Last year alone, around 100,000 Minnesotans were helped, and LaBroffe said a relationship often develops between those seeking help and the volunteers.

“The preparer and the client get to know each other and get to have a very nice feeling about it,” she said. “And people in general get nervous dealing with the IRS, so they’re very grateful. This I have discovered, being state coordinator, is why the people come back year after year to do the return.”

The free assistance is available to all, but the main focus is helping low-income and older Minnesotans. Information on the roughly 200 locations across the state for those who need help or those who want to volunteer is at 888-OUR-AARP or online at the AARP website.