Free tax preparation service is available through April 16 at the Stewart C. Meyer Harker Heights Public Library and Activities Center, 400 Indian Trail.

The program is sponsored by the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide and the Internal Revenue Service VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance). Trained volunteers provide the service

On the first day, Saturday, almost 50 people registered to see a tax assistant said Sandy Delaune, a tax facilitator.

“We will help anyone with their taxes, not just low income and seniors,” she said.

Clients need to show a photo ID, a Social Security card and current W-2 forms from every job; last year’s tax return is also helpful.

Juanita Carson, of Killeen, returned for her second tax year knowing the benefit of free tax service is worth the wait. “Before I came here, I was paying about $100 to get my taxes done,” Carson said. “I feel like I’m getting a bigger return.”

Six preparers sat at individual tables talking with clients, shuffling through papers, reviewing receipts and entering data into the computer system.

A double-check process by separate volunteers ensures accuracy. Sometimes an issue needs more information from the client, so a hold is put on the return until it can be completed.

John Redwine, the Temple Tax-Aide coordinator, has prepared tax returns for eight years. He came to offer his assistance.

“You always learn something new, so I’m trying to get more information to do the job better,” Redwine said.

Since the AARP program started in 1968, it has helped nearly 50 million taxpayers nationwide. Heights resident Neil Blackmon spent his day off waiting in the lobby for his turn.

“I have to get my taxes done somewhere, and these people know what they’re doing,” Blackmon said.

The best advice is to file early, said Mike Delaune, Killeen tax aide counselor.

“We’re very busy the first few weeks, then it slows and picks up right before returns are due,” Delaune said. Come in as soon as you can.”

Tax preparation hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday and Saturday.

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