Seniors Get Help Preparing Taxes Through Special Program
Aug 19, 2021, 1:50 PM | Updated: 2:34 pm
SALT LAKE CITY — Recovering from financial loss post-pandemic can be tough on older Utahns with fixed incomes. But a South Jordan man is helping those seniors through a special program.
Alan Smith is an expert in the garden, but when he needed help preparing taxes, he turned to the AARP Tax-Aide Program, which helps low-income seniors prepare their taxes for free.
That’s where he met John Bianucci, who has volunteered his expertise for 23 years. “He went way out of his way to help us get our taxes done. He’s just been a delight,” Smith said.
Bianucci, a volunteer and state coordinator for AARP’s Tax-Aide Program, said, “A lot of the taxpayers that come to us are on Social Security and maybe a small pension, so they have a very tight budget.”
Over the last seven years, he and his team have prepared 43,500 federal tax returns and 38,000 state returns for Utahns in need.
“He is dedicated 24 hours a day, often nights were very late, past midnight, but he was so committed,” said Bianucci’s wife, Dee Bianucci. Filing those returns and training volunteers got more complicated during the pandemic.
Linda Oram, a volunteer with AARP Tax-Aide, said, “We weren’t able to do face-to-face taxes, so he created training on Web-ex so we could all still receive the training that we needed.”
John Bianucci’s efforts helped about 600 taxpayers receive stimulus checks.
“So that was, in some cases, $2,400 or something that they had not gotten and they were eligible for, so it made a big difference in their budget and I’m sure in their life,” said Bianucci, who is this year’s AARP Andrus Award winner for helping people like Smith.
“He was treating me like a friend, like he appreciated me as much as I appreciated him,” Smith said. “He made you feel important and you’re his best interest.”
But Bianucci said the program helped him, too, through friendships and the joy of helping others. “So grateful to see the smiles on people’s faces and the thank yous that they give you,” he said.
For more information on the AARP Tax-Aide Program, visit: www.aarp.org/taxaide or call 1-888-227-7669.