St. Mary’s County residents will be able to get help in finishing and filing their taxes for 2019 through the AARP Tax-Aide program, which focuses on helping individuals who are 50 and older and those who have low and moderate income levels or other challenges.
These programs can be popular with residents when it comes to filing their taxes, but the 60 Plus Association wants St. Mary’s County residents to be aware that there have been concerns raised by former Tax-Aide volunteers about the security of participants’ information and what the AARP Foundation might do with the information once an individual’s tax return has been filed.
On Feb. 10, the 60 Plus Association issued a statement warning individuals of the issues that could arise.
“There are some very serious red flags regarding the AARP’s tax program, and America’s seniors should be extremely cautious when considering whether or not to participate,” James Martin, chairman and founder of the American Association of Senior Citizens, said in the press release. “Volunteers within the program itself have raised significant data and privacy concerns and seniors should be aware of these issues as they make decisions regarding their tax filings.”
According to the 60 Plus Association, the policies in place with Tax-Aide allow the AARP access to participants’ full tax returns, addresses, Social Security numbers and other sensitive information, and the 60 Plus Association notes that AARP receives royalties from other corporations, nearly $1 billion each year. That includes almost $700 million from sales of Medigap plans to senior citizens through UnitedHealth.
The 60 Plus Association cautions area residents to be vigilant about finding out how their information might be used or in ensuring that their personal information is not shared or used after they’ve filed their taxes.