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AARP Offers Tax Advice for Chappaqua Residents

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. - Volunteers for AARP will be setting up shop in the Chappaqua Library until the end of tax season to help residents of all ages sort out their finances.

George Wu, a volunteer in Chappaqua, said his group of volunteers has been offering free, one-on-one consultation to about 13 residents per week.

While many tax forms are straightforward, Wu said he has dealt with a number of unique scenarios. He said filing can become complicated with residents who perform individual stock transactions.

"That gets complicated," Wu said. Too complicated for his AARP volunteers to handle. "They should have a private accountant to do this for them. Someone who gets paid to do this."

Some of the most common advice Wu finds himself giving out during his sessions is for residents to hold onto their receipts. He said the problem is especially true for younger adults that have become too reliant on digital technology and often lose or throw away valuable receipts.

"We had a couple of kids come in, they don’t have receipts," Wu said. "They paid tuition, don't have receipts. Tuition is a big deductible item."

Other advice Wu offers is to be careful when handing out Social Security numbers and other forms of identification.

"We have - not many in Westchester - but identity thefts," Wu said. "People come in and say ‘I’m so and so’ and they want to steal the ITN (Identification Tax Number)."

Wu said there is almost no new information for residents to learn when filing in 2012. Compared the 2011, he said, only minor changes occurred. "If you look at that form, the 1040 booklet, the first pages are changes. Sometimes you get three pages of changes. This year there’s only one," he said.

Wu said the changes relate to different levels of deduction, which have increased slightly. The AARP will continue to offer help at the library from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. every Wednesday until April 11.

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