Counselors assist people with tax returnsVolunteers working out of the Wellington Senior Center, 308 S. Washington Ave.,are providing a free service completing tax forms for people.

The service is geared primarily for seniors and people with low incomes “but we don’t refuse service to anyone,” Judy Beall, one of the three volunteer tax counselors, said.

The tax preparers are certified by the IRS and affiliated with AARP, but a person does not have to be an AARP member to receive the service, Beall said.

Every year people come in, saying they did not know the service was available, even though people have been providing it for around 20 years, Beall said. Most learn about it through word of mouth or posters in churches and thrift shops.

A lot of people offer to pay the tax counselors, but they are not allowed to accept money. “We tell them to go next door and give it to the senior center,” Beall said.

The counselors work with people from 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday and Friday and from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 5 p.m. on Thursdays.

They don’t take walk-ins, but people can schedule an appointment by calling Beall at (620) 399-8224 or Cleo Koehler at (620) 326-3723. Beall urged anyone wanting to make an appointment to call as soon as possible. The counselors are already booked for appointments through February. The service is provided until April 5.

With three people preparing returns, they assist approximately 35 people a week and 350 to 400 over the course of the tax season, Beall said.

“It gives us a lot of pleasure to be able to help people,” she said.