New Jersey seniors should take care with personal information during tax season

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Trenton and Manalapan residents who qualify have options to get help with their taxes this year, through the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Tax-Aide program or the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.

The Suburban ran an announcement on its community bulletin board that IRS-certified volunteers with AARP would offer tax preparation services by appointment only, on Mondays and Thursdays staring Feb. 3 and running through April 9, at the Old Bridge Library, 1 Old Bridge Plaza. Appointments are available between 10:15 a.m. and 2:15 p.m., and appointments must be made by calling or texting 723-705-7463, or emailing    

In Mercer County, VITA will offer free income tax preparation assistance for the 2019 tax season at a variety of locations throughout the county through mid-April.

While these programs sound fantastic for individuals who qualify due to age or income issues, there are red flags that the 60 Plus Association warns people to be aware of, as they choose where to get help with their taxes. On Feb. 10, the 60 Plus Association issued a statement warning of potential problems with the AARP-run program.

“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,” said American Association of Senior Citizens Founder and Chairman James Martin. “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 release reported that policies from the AARP Foundation might cause millions to give private data to the foundation without restriction on how that information may be used, allowing for the potential that it could be sold to advertisers or other companies.

The 60 Plus Association’s press release alleges that AARP’s corporate royalties come to almost a billion dollars, much more than member dues, and that the organization’s “biggest moneymaker” is to sell Medigap plans for UnitedHealth.

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