Jasper residents should be aware of potential risks of using free tax preparation clinics

Senior citizens should be vigilant about an AARP program that provides tax-preparation assistance, another senior citizens group warned.

“There are some very serious red flags regarding the AARP’s tax  program, and America’s seniors should be extremely cautious when considering whether or not to participate,” James Martin, founder and chairman of the American Association of Senior Citizens, told Arkansas Business Daily. “Volunteers within the program itself have raised significant data and privacy concerns and seniors should be aware of these issues as they make decisions regarding their tax filings.”

The AARP Tax-Aide program has worked with more than 68  million taxpayers over the past 50 years. Recently, however, volunteers who have left the program have voiced concerns that AARP may be selling  taxpayers’ information to corporate partners or advertisers without that  individual’s explicit knowledge and consent. According to a press release by 60 Plus Association, the Tax-Aide policies give AARP the ability to access full tax returns and sensitive information, and allow that information to be sold to corporations and advertisers.

AARP receives corporate royalties of almost $1 billion, and almost $700 million alone from UnitedHealth, for which the AARP sells Medigap plans, 60 Plus Association said.

AARP provides assistance in filling out tax returns even if you are not a member of the group. The assistance is available through April 15.

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