Time to Prepare Your Tax Returns

Quail Creek residents serving as volunteers include (left to right): Diana Averill, Craig
Parsons, John Kozma, Gail Garrison, Anne Benton, Skip Pence, Lori Whitman, Terry
Koch, Peggy McGee, and Donna Wieb. Not pictured: Rita Blakeslee and Glen Olmstead.
Photo by Al Miller.

Peggy McGee

There were several changes to the 2019 tax code that will impact tax preparation efforts this year. Perhaps the biggest is with the Arizona state return, which now mirrors the federal return when it comes to standard deductions. For single filers, it’s $12,200 and married filing jointly (MFJ) is $24,400. For those over 65 at the end of 2019, single filers get a $13,850 standard deduction and MFJ $25,700. In the past, many had to itemize on their Federal returns just to get the benefit of the more generous medical deductions that Arizona allowed.

Another positive for the state return is that military retirees get up to a $3500 deduction from their pension income or an amount up to the level of their Arizona tax obligation. Also, whether or not one itemizes, the dollar-for-dollar credits for donations to public schools, charities that help the working poor, and foster care programs still apply.

Credits that expired at the end of tax year 2018 (e.g., installing energy efficient air conditioners, treatment of mortgage insurance premiums as qualified interest for itemized deductions, or a deduction of qualified tuition and related expenses as an alternative to an education credit) were added back in on Dec. 20, 2019, and made retroactive to Jan. 1, 2018. That means 2018 returns will have to be amended for one to claim any of these credits.

If all of this seems too daunting, you might want to consider the services of the volunteers of the AARP Tax-Aide program. Tax prep assistance will be provided at:

St. Francis-In-The-Valley Episcopal Church at 600 S. La Canada Drive on Mondays from 1-6 p.m., February 3 through April 13 and Fridays from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., February 7 through April 10. The site will be closed on Friday, March 6.

La Posada Recreation Center at 501 La Posada Circle on Wednesdays, February 5 through April 15 and Thursdays, February 6 through April 2. Hours are 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on both days. The site will be closed on February 13 and March 12.

East Social Center at 7 South Abrego Drive on Saturdays, Feb. 1 through April 11 and Sundays, Feb. 23 and March 22 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Appointments only. Call 300-6407.

No new clients accepted one hour prior to closing at any of the sites.

Please be sure to bring: prior year’s tax returns; photo ID for taxpayer and spouse, if applicable; social security cards for each family member or a social security statement, if receiving benefits; proof of income to include all W-2 and 1099 forms; documentation for deductible expenses; blank check showing account and routing numbers for direct deposit or debit; both spouses or power of attorney, if married filing jointly and spouse is unable to sign.