Paso Robles Senior Center recognizes volunteer
–The Paso Robles Senior Center (PRSC) is excited to honor Mike Cussen as their “Volunteer Spotlight.” Many individuals in the community know Mike Cussen. He is the AARP tax-aide program district coordinator as well as the training coordinator for all of San Luis Obispo County. Cussen has been doing this job as a volunteer for over 7 years.
Cussen begins organization of the county-wide AARP tax-aide program in October. Starting in January, with the training of the Tax Aides in the current Federal and State Tax laws, he often does not finish with the tax year until well into June. With COVID-19, he faced additional challenges when developing COVID-19 policies and procedures to ensure the public was served safely.
In Paso Robles, Cussen developed a drive-through service in the parking lot of the Paso Robles Senior Center. Despite having a reduced number of volunteers, Cussen and his “Tax-aide crew” prepared over 800 tax returns for the Paso Robles community. He even offered to go to a Paso Robles assisted living facility on a Saturday to help with the completion of the tax forms. It seems there is very little Cussen will not do to help people get their taxes completed.
In addition, there were many changes that took place during 2020 tax season. Many of the standard deductions were increased this year through the federal government. The federal government decided not to tax the first $10,500 an individual received in unemployment benefits. This change required the AARP tax-aide program call some clients who had their taxes previously completed and REDO their taxes. With people eligible to receive stimulus checks this year and some not receiving them, Cussen and his “tax-aide crew” completed the federal tax forms with a recovery rebate credit. By filing for this credit, individuals could claim the stimulus they were eligible to receive.
Cussen enjoys serving his community. He treats those who work with him with respect and professionalism. He also enjoys his 30+-mile bike rides. Riding his bike is one way Cussen stays fit enough to coordinate the program in this county each year. If you see him riding on Highway 101 on his way to Atascadero, please, do not honk.
Written and submitted by Micki Wright
Coordinator, Paso Robles Senior Center