Free tax help via AARP

Published on: January 16, 2020

AARP Tax Aide gears up for new season in new location

By PHYLLIS HODGES

After months of uncertainty, the nearly 5,000 people who had taxes prepared by volunteers in 2019 can breathe a little easier. The free AARP Tax Aide service is safe for the 2019 tax year returns, thanks to Cypress Creek Assisted Living. Volunteers will start accepting clients on February 3.

BILL HODGES PHOTO
Supervising training of this year’s tax preparers are, standing, from left: Coordinators Edwin Sheridan, David Foran and Joanne Richard. Seated are Irene Maier (Riverview), Ed Walker (SCC) and Rick Jordan (Ruskin).

Leaders faced a dilemma last year when they were informed by their decades-long host, SouthShore United Church of Christ, that the church was being sold. Finding a suitable space available January through mid-April of 2020 was extremely difficult.

The new location — Cypress Creek Assisted Living — is located at 970 Cypress Village Blvd., one mile north of S.R. 674. Tax preparers will be working in a very nice area of the facility’s newly added Legacy Building. For Sun City Center residents, there is a word of caution; it is not accessible by golf cart.

The volunteers represent a cross-section of south Hillsborough County and are led by a capable leadership team. David Foran is the district coordinator but also does tax returns and serves as a quality reviewer. Edwin Sheridan has been coordinating the Kings Point location for about 10 years. This is Joanne Richard’s 14th year volunteering and first year serving as leader of the Cypress Creek group.

Cypress Creek Assisted Living is the new location for the free AARP Tax Aide service, at 970 Cypress Village Blvd., one mile north of S.R. 674 in Ruskin/Sun City Center.

Richard credits Matt Permuth (Vesta at Kings Point) for being instrumental in acquiring the new space. She describes their search as “horrid” and said, “We were ready to give up. The Cypress Creek people have been wonderful and very gracious. They take care of all our needs.”

Tracey Postiglione, Cypress Creek community relations director calls the arrangement a “win-win.” The community benefits from the continued free tax service, and Cypress Creek gains higher visibility.

Privately owned for over 40 years, Cypress Creek has an innovative care-giving approach. Currently, it has 101 residents who are grouped according to their similar care needs and housed in “peer neighborhoods” of 12 to 20 people. Postiglione says visitors may meet an interesting four-legged worker named Champ. When he appeared on the property a few years ago, owner Jim Biggins took him to a local veterinary hospital for treatment and brought him back to Cypress Creek for training as a therapy dog. Now, residents, families, friends and staff enjoy his visits.

AARP District Coordinator David Foran explained that the tax service is available to anyone, regardless of where they live, but no state returns will be prepared. Individuals planning to use the service should communicate their needs when calling for an appointment since there are some IRS restrictions on returns they can handle.

The Kings Point site will be open Monday, Wednesday and Friday. For an appointment, call 813-260-3509. The Cypress Creek site will be open Monday through Thursday. For an appointment there, call 813-642-0428. All requests must be made during business hours, which are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at both locations.

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