During the 2007 tax season, AARP Tax-Aide volunteers filed 125 tax returns in Ellis County.

In 2008, they hope to increase that number.

The AARP needs volunteers.

“We just need people to help us meet the need,” said coordinator Jim Garner. “I don’t see the need decreasing, I see the need increasing.”

Garner plans to have two sites running in 2008 — one in Ennis and one in Waxahachie. Garner is working to gather his volunteers early.

The program is supported by the AARP Foundation and is offered in conjunction with the IRS.

Volunteers would be asked to dedicate about eight hours a week during the tax season to the program. The AARP provides training in January.

“The training is a three- to five-day school, usually around the beginning of January,” Garner said. “They must pass a written, open-book test.”

Garner understands that the Tax-Aide program will take up a large slot of time during the tax season.

“The people we need to volunteer probably need to be retired and computer literate,” Garner said. “I’ve been doing this several years and I find it to be a satisfying profession. It gives me a chance to give back.”

The AARP and IRS have opted to transition to electronic filing,. Garner believes using computer software to be more accurate.

“If you are computer literate, the tax software is very easy to learn,” Garner said. “I don’t know of anybody that will have a problem. If they can do TurboTax, this should be a snap.”

Volunteers do not need to be members of the AARP. The program focuses on providing complimentary assistance for low- to middle-income taxpayers and those 60 and older.

“We don’t limit anybody, but we primarily target those 60 and over. They don’t have to be a member of the AARP,” Garner said. We don’t charge a dime.”

The Ennis site is scheduled for hours from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays and the Waxahachie site from noon-4 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Those interested in volunteering should call (972) 617-7434.

E-mail Mandy at mandy.bourgeois@elliscountynespapernetwork.com.