OLEAN - For more than 30 years, the Internal Revenue Service and AARP have sponsored the Tax Counseling for the Elderly program, providing free counseling and preparation of tax returns for senior citizens. This year, 2011, will be the 11th year of operation for the site in the village of Cattaraugus, and this year, as in the past, the Cattaraugus County Department of the Aging will run counseling sessions in Collins, Salamanca, Franklinville and Olean, as well as shut-in service.
The department will start working during the first week of February and will continue right up until the end of the tax season. The primary goal is to help those age 50 and older, but no one is ever turned away because of age. Counselors are trained to handle most routine situations, but clients subject to the AMT, or with rental income, depreciation issues or foreign investment are advised to see a tax professional.
The $200 state credit for volunteer fire company members is available, even for those who would not otherwise file a tax return.
Those planning to take advantage of free counseling should bring any tax material received in the mail, including all statements of income: Social security statements, 1099 forms from banks and pension funds, and any W-2 forms. It is also very important to bring last year's tax returns and a record of property taxes paid in 2010. If you sold stock, all of the details are needed, especially when you bought it and how much you paid for it.
Call Don or Allison Girod, 257-3285, for appointments, information, questions, or to make special arrangements for shut-ins.
Counseling locations are as follows (appointments required at all sites) - note that days and times have changed from last year:
L.K. Painter Center, Collins - Thursdays, 1 to 4 p.m.: Feb. 24; March 10, 24; April 7
Public Library, Salamanca - Tuesdays, 1 to 6 p.m.: Feb. 22; March 8, 22
Cattaraugus Free Library - Thursdays, 9 a.m. to noon: now through - April 7
Franklinville Blount Library - Mondays, 2 to 5 p.m.: Feb. 14, 28; March 28
Olean Senior Center (Drop-in site) - Seniors can call for the times. Seniors can sign up on a list located at the Olean Senior Center.