For more than 30 years, the Retired & Senior Volunteer Program of Etowah and Cherokee counties has offered free income tax preparation and filing for area residents.

RSVP is looking for new volunteers to help with this program for 2020 and the coming years.

“We appreciate being able to provide this service to our community,” RSVP Director Traci Pondick said, “and our volunteers truly enjoy preparing taxes for their clients.

“However, we are at the point where we need some new tax volunteers, and this is the perfect time for you to give it a try.”

A training class will be offered in January, Pondick said in a press release, and the volunteer service will begin Jan. 27 and continue through April 15 at seven convenient locations.

Volunteers must attend training and pass a certification test before preparing taxes, but it is an open book test. RSVP asks that volunteers work at least one day per week during tax season.

“One of the perks of this volunteer opportunity is that while it may be demanding for a few weeks, it is only for a few weeks, then it’s over until next year,” Pondick said.

Greeters are needed at all locations — Attalla, Centre, Gadsden, Clencoe, Hokes Bluff and Rainbow City — so even those who aren’t sure about tackling tax preparation can help.

Greeters also need to attend training and pass a Standards of Conduct test, but they are not required to know tax law, she said.

“This is a good way to ‘stick your toes in the water’ and get a better idea if this is the right volunteer opportunity for you,” Pondick explained. 

RSVP provides this service specifically to low-income and senior citizens, but there is no age or income limit. The main benchmark for our service is the difficulty of the return. Volunteers cannot prepare a Schedule C with loss or depreciation, complicated Schedule D’s, etc.

RSVP will have an introductory meeting in November. Those who are interested, may contact RSVP at 256-549-8147, tpondick@etowahcounty.org or visit the office in the Etowah County Courthouse, Room 219 for more information.