Daily Point of Light # 3074 Nov 16, 2005

Fred Westendorf is a volunteer extraordinaire with AARP’s Tax-Aide program, the nation’s largest free, volunteer-run tax counseling and preparation service for middle to low income tax payers, giving special attention to those ages 60 and older. This program operates under a cooperative agreement with the Internal Revenue Service as a part of the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program. Fred has been a part of this program for over ten years.

Westendorf serves as the District Coordinator for the Tax-Aide program in Westchester County, New York, and supervised 108 counselors and local coordinators in 18 sites during the last tax season. He trained these counselors in income tax law, return preparation, and the use of software for electronic filing. In addition, he served as a counselor over the same period providing one-on-one assistance to low income, elderly taxpayers.

Last season, the Tax-Aide volunteers in Westchester prepared 3,500 returns for taxpayers who could not afford to pay for this service. Of those, 1,600 were electronically filed, enabling the taxpayers to receive their refunds within ten days and saving them the unnecessary and exorbitant fees charged for refund anticipation loans. Westendorf’s program prepared New York State and Federal returns, affording customers a one-stop service. He ensures quality return preparation by instructing his volunteers on issues pertinent to senior citizens during four-day training sessions which he conducts in the auditoriums at Westchester Community College and The Will Library in Yonkers, New York.

Westendorf demonstrates a total commitment to the concept of volunteering. His personal and professional level of involvement is unsurpassed. He earns the respect of his peer by hands-on approach to volunteer activities, his integrity, and his computer expertise. Westendorf is personally responsible for converting Westchester TCE sites from “paper to Pentium” by implementing e-file. Before Westendorf came on board all returns were done on paper. He will do whatever is necessary to help elderly taxpayers, even making house calls to the disabled and homebound.