SEATTLE -- Tax day is fast approaching. This year, between foreclosures and tax deductions for new vehicles, the process of filing taxes is as complicated as ever.
That's why on recent Thursday mornings, a sizable crowd is waiting outside the Ballard Public Library before the doors are even open. They're not here to check out the latest installment of the Twilight series. Tather, they are seeking help with their taxes. The very best kind of help, since it is a free service provided by the Seattle Public Library, United Way of King County, and the AARP.
Judy Maleng, the widow of late King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng, has been a volunteer tax counselor for more than a decade.
"Tax law just keeps getting more complicated," she said. "And people, more than ever, are frustrated by 'Is this a deduction this year? It's not a deduction next year.' This year of course we have the tax deduction for sales tax on the purchase of new vehicles, we have foreclosures, those who've lost their homes in the recession."
One of the people she is assisting this week is retiree Christine McClure, who says she has recommended this service to her friends for years. McClure says she is grateful for the help, and is particularly appreciative that once the tax documents are complete, a second counselor on-site reviews the work just to make sure it's correct.
"Just because it makes it so simple," she said with a smile. "I've always done it myself in the past, and three years ago I had a couple questions. I thought well, I'll try this, and it just worked like a charm!"
The taxes are filed on line, so all of the work is done by the time people leave the library. The service is available through April 11th, although business tax returns are not part of the free service.
Finally, the free tax preparations are scheduled on different days depending upon which Seattle library you visit, so be sure to check the times and locations before you go.