LAKE WYLIE — When Bill Bold started doing taxes for the free AARP program 23 years ago, returns were done on paper, by hand.
“To make a copy, we used carbon paper,” said Bold, 92, of Lake Wylie. “It was slow, but life was a lot less complicated in the good ‘ol days.”
The retired pharmacist likes electronically filing, even though he and other AARP preparers had to learn a new software program during their training this year.
Beginning Feb. 4 and throughout tax season, the AARP tax program is available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays at the Clover Public Library at 107 Knox St. It was created for senior citizens and low-income taxpayers. About 325 federal and 450 state returns are filed each year at the site.
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistanceprogram, organized by the United Way of York County, is available from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturdays in February at the library. The free service is open to taxpayers earning $52,000 or less, and appointments are encouraged.
Bold is friends with Gene McCarthy, 75, a Lake Wylie man who has been a tax preparer for the AARP for 16 years.
Both enjoy the challenge of tax preparation and the joy of helping others. Taxpayers save several hundred dollars with the free filing service. There is typically a wait to meet with a preparer.
“It’s a very rewarding experience to see these people come in every year,” said McCarthy, who moved to the area after retiring from working at a power company in New Jersey. “It’s satisfying to help people save money.”
McCarthy says Bold is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to taxes, and he’s fun to be around. Bold has always been good at math and likes numbers.
“At my age, it’s important for me to be mentally nimble,” Bold said. “I have to stimulate my brain so I remain up to speed. It’s to my own benefit that I exercise my mind.”
Bold enjoys getting to know the taxpayers. People fascinate him.
“Sometimes, taxes are very entertaining,” he added.