Free tax service to ramp up in Fort Mill

jmarks@fortmilltimes.comJanuary 30, 2013 

— A tax service whose volunteers fill out hundreds of forms each year in Fort Mill won’t be heading off any fiscal cliff this year. It’ll keep trucking along for as many residents who need it.

The all-volunteer tax prep service is being run through AARP at the Fort Mill Public Library. The service is free and isn’t restricted to age or income requirements. Volunteers will begin taking clients Feb. 5 and will continue every Tuesday and Thursday through tax season.

Tracy Olinger began volunteering about six years ago. This year there are close to 25 volunteers, but based on past interest Olinger hopes for maybe 10 or 15 more when training time comes next year. The program helps about 900 clients per year.

“It’s just a good way to give back,” Olinger said.

Lonnie Shrine will work his 13th year with the program. So he’s prepared for what to expect, especially on the busiest days, and even before the doors officially open.

“It’s not unusual to have 25 or 30 people waiting to get in,” Shrine said.

The same sense of helping others is what keeps the Fort Mill resident coming back each year.

“I feel like I’m helping these people, and saving them a lot of money,” Shrine said. “It’s a satisfying feeling.”

As the calendar flipped into January, there was much talk of changing tax codes or rates and how those changes might affect tax preparation. The AARP program uses computer program provided to the volunteers, which they’re still waiting on, probably due to tax changes.

Once the program arrives, volunteers aren’t too worried about being able to use it.

“So far it’s just been par for the course,” Olinger said. “We really don’t know what impact it’ll have.”

There have been some updates trickling in for volunteers to digest. Shrine expects more, but he also expects to be ready to work Feb. 5.

“The updates are to the point where we can go ahead and start,” he said.

The program is located on the second floor of the library, and is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays from Feb. 5 to April 15. For more information, call 803-547-6953.

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