For the past 19 years, Leiter, who is retired from General Electric in Rome, has been lending his considerable expertise with numbers to the American Association of Retired Persons Tax-Aide program.
“After I retired I was looking for volunteer opportunities, and several of the fellows from GE where I had worked were in the program so I got in,” he said.
He and his fellow volunteers will be offering free tax return assistance at the Rome-Floyd County Library and Charles C. Parker Center in February and early March.
Leiter said he enjoys the tax work for several months at the start of the each year. “It keeps me mentally stimulated; it’s one of the bigger things that I do that does that,” Leiter said.
He also teaches the courses that all AARP volunteers have to take to become certified to prepare tax returns.
“There are three levels in the program for qualification and the AARP will not let you work unless you area able to pass all three.” Leiter said. “Really, there’s a fourth now. They instituted last year an ethics test. We have all kinds of rules about what we can and can’t do. We can’t take any compensation, and we can’t knowingly file improper returns.”
Congressional uncertainty about federal finances during the last few weeks of 2012 provided enough stimulation for Leiter to last for several years — but everything was finally sorted out, for now.
“After the (fiscal) cliff bill was passed most of the perks that they had, that expired, were reinstated,” Leiter said.
The child tax credit, which was to go down to $500, was restored to $1,000 per child. The $250 expense adjustment for materials that teachers buy had expired, but it was reinstated. The retirement savings credit and individual energy credit also had expired and were reinstated.
The AARP Tax Aide program is concentrated on offering tax-filing help for senior citizens, however Leiter said they don’t turn anyone away as long as the return isn’t too complicated for the training that has been provided to the volunteers.
The volunteers who work at the Rome-Floyd County Library do their tax work online using Tax Wise computers, however the volunteers who work at the Charles C. Parker Center use Leiter’s laptop computer as a conduit for accessing the tax software.
Last year the local tax volunteers helped 986 taxpayers with 785 federal returns and 779 state returns, with the overwhelming majority of them filed electronically.
This year, the volunteers will be at the library, 205 Riverside Parkway, on Mondays through April 15, 1 to 4 p.m., and Saturdays through April 13, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Volunteers will be at the 1325 Kingston Road senior center Wednesdays through April 10 from 1 to 4 p.m.
For additional information call 706-234-0931.