Senior centers, San Juan College offer tax aid programs

IRS extends filing deadline this year to April 17

Megan Petersen
Farmington Daily Times
A volunteer calculates a client's taxes on Feb. 20, 2016, at the Information Technology Center on the San Juan College campus.
  • Three senior centers in the Four Corners are participating in the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program.
  • San Juan College business students volunteer to offer tax help to local taxpayers.
  • This is the 16th year the college has participated in the national Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.

FARMINGTON — One month remains in the 2017 tax season, and resources are still available in the Four Corners to help people file tax returns.

The filing date to submit 2017 tax returns is April 17, which is a two-day extension from the traditional April 15 deadline.

Timing prompted the extension, according to the Internal Revenue Service website. The traditional deadline falls on a Sunday this year, and April 16 is Emancipation Day — a legal holiday in the District of Columbia. As tax law requires legal holidays to be recognized, taxpayers get an extra two days to complete and file their taxes this year.

Volunteers across the county are available for people who need help filing their taxes.

The Aztec and Newcomb senior centers and the Bonnie Dallas Senior Center in Farmington are partnering with the American Association of Retired People to help seniors ages 50 and older who are low- to moderate-income taxpayers file their taxes through the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program, according to the AARP website.

Aztec’s program is available from 8:30 a.m. through 11:30 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays through April 17. Call 505-334-2881 to make an appointment.

Rebecca Ingersoll, left, and Viridiana Saltijeral, center, help Donna Keeswood with her tax return on Feb. 20, 2016, at the Information Technology Center at San Juan College.

The Bonnie Dallas Senior Center’s program is available from 8:30 a.m. through 11:30 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays through April 17. Call 505-566-2256 for an appointment.

Though the Newcomb Senior Center is closed for remodeling, the center will present the AARP Tax-Aide program from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesdays at the Sheep Springs Chapter house and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on April 5 at the Shiprock Chapter house. No appointments are required, but the senior center can be reached at 505-732-5408 for more information.

Saturday is the last day San Juan College is offering tax services in a regular free clinic. Tax help is available from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Room 5003 of San Juan College’s Quality Center for Business.

Student volunteers from the college’s School of Business will be available to help prepare and electronically file 2017 taxes in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, according to Katherine Elliott, an accounting instructor at the college who is an adviser to the program. Though the program is meant for families who earn $54,000 or less, the program is available to the public.

Eleven student volunteers, one community volunteer and two advisers have been available since late January. San Juan College VITA site coordinator Carol Hrebin said so far, the group has helped file 722 returns, accounting for more than $1.1 million in federal refunds and $75,900 in state refunds.

“It’s a win-win-win,” Elliott said. “It’s a good experience for the students, and it’s an opportunity for the college to give back to the community, as well.”

No appointment is required for Saturday's clinic, and customers will be helped on a first-come, first-serve basis.

This is the 16th year the college has participated in the national VITA program, and Elliott said the service expanded last year to offer free help from volunteers on a year-round basis. Those services are available again this year, though volunteers take a week off during the college’s spring break.

The program is also expanding next year to lengthen the free clinic period and to offer a new enrolled agent tax certificate starting in the fall, Elliot said.

Megan Petersen covers business and education for The Daily Times. Reach her at 505-564-4621 or