It takes most people roughly an hour to prepare a simple tax return.
For volunteer Bob Sanchez, it takes just under 20 minutes.
But speed isn’t what Sanchez strives for, accuracy and getting the best refund for taxpayers is.
Sanchez, and the 35 volunteers with Payson’s AARP Tax-Aide program, take pride in providing free tax preparation services every year for the needy.
Most volunteers have served with the program for years.
Locally, Joan Stephens has volunteered since 1993, Victoria Sanchez, 2003 and Tom Hewitt, 1998.
“Volunteers are the program’s most valuable resource,” said Bob Sanchez, AARP Tax-Aide District 10 coordinator.
“In order for us to provide the high quality of service, the volunteers must establish the greatest degree of public trust. We treat all taxpayers professionally, with courtesy and respect.”
This year, local volunteers worked from Feb. 1 to April 12, putting in more than 5,000 hours.
Volunteers are all retired professionals and range from lawyers, teachers and accountants to military and medical personnel.
This year, the group helped 1,328 individuals, preparing 1,182 returns.
Statewide, AARP Tax-Aide has prepared nearly 76,000 federal returns.
AARP Foundation Tax-Aide is the nation’s largest free, volunteer-run tax assistance and preparation service.