Joseph Kogut of Cape Carteret was among the first clients to stop by the local AARP Foundation Tax-Aide site this season to get the task done.

“I wanted to get it done. It’s something we all have to do,” Kogut said as he waited for his federal and North Carolina income tax returns to be finished.

Kogut had all the paperwork he needed for his returns, and tax preparers say having all the documents in order before you arrive at any tax preparation service is key to making it a smooth process.

Tax-Aide locations have an intake process, going over paperwork with each client to be sure they have all the information they need before a return is started.

“We want to save them the time and the hassle,” said Traci Torrie, district coordinator for the Tax-Aide program, which is operating locations in Onslow, Carteret and Craven counties.

The program opened its sites Wednesday and is reminding taxpayers that there are certain documents they should be prepared to provide no matter who you choose to prepare your returns.

Each taxpayer should have a photo ID, including spouses filing joint return. A social security card for each person on a return is needed, including those for children.

Bring last year’s return and all documents pertaining to income of any source, including those who are self-employed.

Those with childcare expenses should have their provider’s name, address and ID number. Also bring information on educational benefits and/or expenses for 2016 and the first three months of 2017.

Taxpayers should also have available information on health insurance coverage and income information for each individual on a return, including policy begin and end dates and any forms such as 1095-A, 1095-B, 1095-C and/or exemption documents.

Torrie said a majority of their clients are seniors, and one of the items frequently forgotten are Social Security documents, particularly the SSA1099 form showing the amount made last year

When itemizing, many taxpayers forget to bring documents and receipts for expenses such as medical and business mileage.

The tax season is well underway and the Tax-Aide program provides free tax preparation services. While its volunteers are available to help all taxpayers, the focus of the program is on assistance for seniors 60 and older.

Kogut, 92, began using the program last year and said the previous services he was using had become too expensive.

“At my age I couldn’t afford it,” he said.

Kogut said he has been pleased with the service he’s gotten through Tax-Aide and on Wednesday was being helped by Billy Piner of Cape Carteret, who is volunteering as a tax preparer for his first year.

“They were helping my son (with his tax returns) and would be talking about the need for volunteers. After hearing that a couple years, I said I need something to do to challenge me, something to keep my mind sharp,” Piner said.

In the Jacksonville area, there are two Tax-Aide sites:

Jacksonville Commons Recreation Center, 100 Recreation Land; open Tuesdays 8 a.m. to noon

Onslow County Senior Services, 4024 Richlands Highway; open Mondays noon to 4 p.m.; Thursdays 8 a.m. to noon

There are also sites offered in Swansboro, Carteret County and Havelock:

Swansboro Public Library, 1460 W. Corbett Ave, Swansboro; Mondays noon to 4 p.m.

Western Carteret Public Library, 230 Taylor Notion Rd., Cape Carteret; Mondays and Wednesdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Leon Mann Senior Center, 3820 Galantis Dr., Morehead City; Thursdays and Fridays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Matthew 25 Program St. James UMC, 1007 Orange St., Newport; Tuesdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Trinity Presbyterian Church, 206 Miller Ave, Havelock; Thursdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.