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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

Free tax-prep aid available across WA

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Thursday, February 1, 2024   

Free tax-filing assistance is available once again in Washington state starting today.

The AARP Foundation's Tax-Aide program is available to everyone regardless of age or income level.

Charles Humble, communication volunteer lead for the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program at AARP Washington, said people are grateful for the program, recalling a single mom with three kids he helped get several thousand dollars back through her tax refund.

"It was just that joy of being able to see somebody get something that they have coming but they might never have gotten before because they would not have been able to figure out how to get that extra refund that they have coming," Humble explained.

The program has 125 sites available across Washington. Humble noted preparers can help people figure out if they qualify for the Working Families Tax Credit, for instance. Last year, more than 200,000 Washingtonians qualified for the credit, receiving $115 million in total refunds.

Humble pointed out the volunteer tax preparers are IRS certified.

"They're volunteers but they love what they're doing," Humble observed. "They like doing taxes, they enjoy being good at it and they couple that interest in a subject with a desire to help people, and this is a way of giving back."

Last year, Tax-Aide volunteers assisted more than 1.5 million people nationally with their taxes. While the program can help in most cases, they may not be able to help in some complicated situations, such as returns involving small businesses with employees or rental income.

Disclosure: AARP Washington contributes to our fund for reporting on Consumer Issues, Health Issues, and Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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