QUESTION: Considering the pandemic, will there still be tax help available through AARP and the Greater Longview United Way this year?
ANSWER: The Greater Longview United Way’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistant program will be up and running this year, although it will look a little different. The jury is still out, though, on the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program and whether it will return.
The United Way’s program offers free tax help to households that earned $60,000 or less in 2020. IRS-certified United Way volunteers provide free income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified residents.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, services will be offered in person by appointment only or by drop off. The location also has changed this year, with the service offered 5:30 pm to 7:30 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays and 9 a.m. noon Saturdays Jan. 19 to April 15 at the Longview Child Development Center, at 1230 S. High St. Extended hours of 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. will be offered Feb. 6.
Visit the “Free Tax Preparation” link on the Greater Longview United Way website at www.longviewunitedway.org or call (903) 236-9211 to make an appointment.
Taxpayers also may complete their own taxes free of charge by visiting www.myfreetaxes.com.
A few notes from the United Way’s website: stay home if you’re sick or if you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 or the flu; temperatures will be taken at the site; masks are required; no children or companions will be allowed; and take a working phone with you. Also, make sure you bring these documents: copy of Social Security cards and photo ID for everyone on the tax return; all income documents; Form 1098T (if claiming college expenses); total daycare expenses and the daycare provider’s tax identification number; Forms 1095-A, B, or C (for health insurance); business expenses; receipts from charitable donations; bank routing number and account number if you want direct deposit.
Don Martin is the local AARP Founation Tax-Aide coordinator. He told me AARP has not at this time approved a plan to provide tax assistance in Longview. Organizers have plans to provide the service by reservation only at the Wesley McCabe United Methodist Church at 1115 S. Mobberly Ave., depending on AARP approval.
Q: My wife is 77 with Type 2 diabetes. I have tried calling and searching, but have no idea of how to get her set up for her COVID-19 injections. I had mine with the veterans administration. Any suggestions?
A: The truth is that there is limited supply of the COVID-19 vaccines right now, but there are some places to get on waiting lists. I’d suggest that if your wife has a primary care doctor that she check there, first. Some providers are starting to get vaccines, although, again, on a limited basis. (The first phase of vaccinations was largely for health care workers. The current phase extends vaccine eligibility to people ages 18 to 64 with chronic conditions that increase their risk of severe illness; and people ages 65 and older regardless of medical conditions.)
The Texas Department of State Health Services maintains a website with information about where vaccines are available around the state: tinyurl.com/y6zl92nl . Just remember, appointments are required. You can’t just show up at one of the places with vaccines and expect to get a vaccine.
Here’s another website with links to vaccination hubs around the state: https://bit.ly/3qjZOMP.
I put my name (as a cancer patient) on the waiting list through the Northeast Texas Public Health District at tinyurl.com/yyp2llka .
Christus Trinity Clinic also has an online system to register for the vaccine, depending on availability. Visit www.christushealth.org/trinity/clinic/coronavirus.