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TAX AID AVAILABLE TO SENIOR CITIZENS

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Low or moderate-income individuals 60 years and older are eligible to receive assistance from tax aides of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).

"They will answer your questions and help you prepare your tax forms, all at no cost to you," said Stan Daniels, assistant state coordinator in charge of publicity for the program.Last year more than 9,200 Utahns were helped by the volunteers trained by the Internal Revenue Service. The volunteers, some of whom are certified public accountants, are trained in special tax provisions concerning pensions, annuities and credits for the elderly and disabled.

The services are available through April 15 at 76 sites around the state. Twenty-six of the sites are in the Salt Lake Valley.

Daniels said there are no major changes in federal tax laws, but many changes have been made in the tax forms. State forms also have been revised. There is now only one form, replacing the former long, short and non-resident forms of past years.

He said the best news is that the state maximum tax rate has decreased from 7.2 percent to 7 percent. There are new or changed state deductions or credits for the higher education savings incentive plan, for health care insurance, for adoption expenses and for disabled dependent care.

Warren S. Anderson, a retired certified public accountant and AARP Tax-Aide state coordinator, said most senior citizens are not aware of the credits and other exemptions available to them. A special credit is available to low-income people over 65 and to disabled individuals. People over 65 may take advantage of a special personal exemption. Up to $125,000 of the profit on the sale of a home may be excluded from taxable income, Anderson said.

He noted that Utah allows low-income retirees to exempt certain types of retirement income. Tax-aide volunteers are trained to recognize and complete tax forms for these credits and exemptions, Anderson said.

Lists of the 76 site locations are posted at many senior citizen centers, community centers and libraries around the state. Those interested in receiving the service should visit one of the sites during scheduled hours of operation. Or they may call for an appointment at sites that assist people only by appointment.

Individuals who are confined to their home, a health care center or other facility may be visited by a tax aide. To find a site near you, call the AARP state office, 801-561-1037, or the toll-free tax-aidenational site locator line at 1-888-227-7669.

Taxpayers should bring all their current tax-related materials, especially the tax booklets with federal and state forms.