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AARP volunteers offer free tax prep service in Yukon

AARP Tax-Aide volunteers provide free income tax preparation on Mondays and Thursdays (by appointment) at the City of Yukon’s Dale Robertson Center, 1200 Lakeshore: From left, Dale Wilhite, Wayne Watts, Judith Watts, local coordinator Marsha Ridenhour, Bob Appenzeller, and Trudi Pye. Ridenhour says Wilhite – the previous local coordinator – was a “wonderful mentor.” (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

A group of AARP Foundation volunteers are back offering their knowledge and expertise twice weekly – free of charge – to Yukon-area taxpayers.

“I love doing it,” said Marsha Ridenhour, AARP Tax-Aide’s local coordinator. “I was a hospital accountant. I love numbers.”

AARP Tax-Aide provides free individual income tax preparation Mondays and Thursdays at the City of Yukon’s Dale Robertson Center, 1200 Lakeshore. Appointments are offered from 10 a.m. through 1 p.m.

This is the service of the AARP Foundation.

“The mission is to help low- to moderate-income people,” Ridenhour explained. “Our focus is 50-and-over. But we will do anybody’s return.

“We cannot do farms. We cannot do businesses. We don’t do rentals. And we don’t do ministers. Those are all ‘special’ cases. We are trained to do oil and gas royalties.”

Volunteer tax preparers work with taxpayers directly, filling out income tax returns and helping them find the deductions and credits they’ve earned. People even come from outside Canadian County.

“We’re helping them prepare their returns,” said Yukon’s Dale Wilhite, who was AARP Tax Aide’s local coordinator before Ridenhour.

Two volunteers work on each tax return – one who prepares it and the other who does “quality review.” That rule is never broken.

The taxpayer is responsible for all information they provide to the volunteer tax preparers.

“When they show up, we work the return,” Ridenhour said. “When they leave, they leave with everything. We don’t keep anything here.

“It’s all done as they wait.”

Having just moved back to Oklahoma from Texas nine years ago, Ridenhour was participating in activities at the Dale Robertson Center when Wilhite recruited her to be an AARP Tax-Aide volunteer.

“I’d always done my own returns, but not anybody’s else,” Ridenhour said. “I took the classes the next year when they offered them and have been doing it ever since.”

Previous local coordinator Wilhite, along with Wayne Watts, have volunteered for the program since 2006.

“We were the first ones to use computers,” Wilhite shared. “Before that, they were doing it by paper and pencil.

“The year after that, I became the local coordinator.”



Ridenhour leads a group of eight AARP Tax-Aide volunteers in Yukon.

“We really have a great team,” Ridenhour said. “We work together and we love each other.”

This year’s AARP Tax-Aide tax prep service began Feb. 2 at the Dale Robertson Center and will continue through the IRS tax-day deadline Tuesday, April 18. The center will be closed Feb. 20 for President’s Day.

“Last year, we completed 320 returns,” Ridenhour said. “In the past, when we were ‘first-come, first-served’, we did more.”

The Yukon volunteers prepared about 450 returns during two consecutive pre-COVID tax seasons. Long lines became common.

Both the taxpayers and volunteers prefer appointments, which started amid the pandemic.

The AARP Tax-Aide local coordinator appreciates the cooperation of the Dale Robertson Center’s staff.

“Andrew Hooks, the new manager, has been wonderful,” Ridenhour said, also thanking past Director Casey Barnett.

Experience isn’t necessary to become an AARP Tax-Aide volunteer. The AARP Foundation provides training and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) certification.

“We can always use more volunteers,” Wilhite pointed out.

The AARP Foundation provides the computers, printers, copy paper, and all supplies; and mileage reimbursement.

Anyone interested in volunteering should visit or call 1-888-227-7669

To make an appointment, call the Dale Robertson Center at (405) 350-7680.