There are downsides to free tax preparation programs, 60 Plus Association warns seniors


Wikimedia Commons/Joe Haupt

According to Moultrie News, free tax preparation services are available this season at the Wando Mount Pleasant Library branch, offered by the AARP’s Tax-Aide program, from Feb. 3 to April 13.

These sessions are available to taxpayers in the area, whether they are members of AARP or not, and there is no age limit. These services are available Monday and Friday afternoons between 12:30 and 5:30 p.m.  

These programs are helpful for individuals who need assistance in filling out and filing their taxes each year, and they help many, but there are volunteers who were once part of the program who are raising alarms over the AARP Foundation’s use of participant data and concern over policies that the AARP is enacting.

The 60 Plus Association warned about potential issues in the Tax-Aide program and to be vigilant about how their information is used.

“There are some very serious red flags regarding the AARP’s tax program, and America’s seniors should be extremely cautious when considering whether or not to participate,” James Martin, founder and chairman of American Association of Senior Citizens, told Palmetto Business Daily. “Volunteers within the program itself have raised significant data and privacy concerns and seniors should be aware of these issues as they make decisions regarding their tax filings.”

60 Plus Association is a nonpartisan organization that has been recognized as the alternative to the AARP. The association warns that in addition to member fees, the AARP makes almost $1 billion from corporate royalties, including $700 million from UnitedHealth, as they sell Medigap plans to seniors from UnitedHealth.

The 60 Plus Association urges individuals to be aware of how and where their personal information could be used after they participate in free tax preparation programs..

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