After more than 40 years working as a banker, Dave Leifheit of Sycamore is still working with numbers as the DeKalb County coordinator for the AARP Tax Aide program. He took a few minutes recently to chat with Debbie Behrends about the tax preparation program for seniors and low-income individuals.
Behrends: How long have you been the county coordinator for the program?
Leifheit: This is my second year. I started as a volunteer a few years ago. It sounded like an interesting program, so I went through the training and I’ve been volunteering since.
Behrends: How many volunteers do you have?
Leifheit: We have about 20 volunteers throughout the county at three different sites in DeKalb, one in Sycamore, one in Kirkland and one in Genoa. We also have greeters at each site that help people fill out the intake form and let them know what paperwork they need to have with them.
Behrends: Does it take any special skills to be a volunteer?
Leifheit: Not really. If you like to work with numbers, that’s good. If you have done your own taxes before, that’s good. And certainly you should have an interest in helping people. Training is provided in Sycamore. It runs for three days, Jan. 22, 23 and 27 from 9 [a.m.] until about 3 [p.m.]. If a volunteer can’t make it to the training because they’re working during the day, it can be done online. They just complete the training and print out the certification.
Behrends: Do you do federal returns only? Or both federal and state?
Leifheit: We do both federal and state returns. Last year we did a little over 1,000 returns. That’s a little less than we normally do, but if you remember, the IRS made some changes late so we got a late start.
Behrends: Do you file the returns for your clients?
Leifheit: Yes, we file electronically for about 95 percent of our clients. Some need paper returns for various reasons. If everything goes correctly, they should see their refunds in about 10 days to two weeks.
Behrends: How does one volunteer to be a preparer?
Leifheit: Call me at 815-895-2430 or 815-757-1800, or call Mark Anderson at 815-765-5157.