Base Tax Center open for business

  • Published
  • By Carl Bergquist
  • Air University Public Affairs
Beginning Feb. 2, members of the Maxwell-Gunter Tax Center will start preparing 2008 tax returns at the 42nd Air Base Wing Judge Advocate office in the northeast wing of Building 804. The free service will continue through April 15.

Base military members, their dependents and retirees are eligible for the service, and last year, more than 1,000 federal returns and more than 800 state returns were prepared by the center resulting in more than $1.6 million in tax refunds. In addition, the base community saved $159,135 in tax return preparation fees due to the expertise of tax center volunteer preparers.

Capt. Benjamin Henley, 42nd ABW JA chief of legal assistance and officer in charge of the tax center, encourages those eligible to come by the center. He noted the center can only handle personal tax returns, but not business returns.

"Please don't hesitate to drop by and see us," he said. "If we can't help you, we can point you in the right direction, but if we can help you, you will save some money on getting your return prepared."

The captain said volunteer preparers spend three days in the classroom and receive online training to get ready to do their jobs.

"They also have to pass a certification exam," he said. "So, they have to be qualified to do returns before they are allowed to work for the center. This year, for example, the economic stimulus packages passed by congress have resulted in some changes in preparing returns, and our workers are trained to handle those changes."

Captain Henley said except for federal holidays, the center will be open Monday through Friday and take appointments from 8 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m. He said each appointment is scheduled to last an hour but may not take that long. The first week will be dedicated to simple single Form W-2 returns where there is no other income or deductions involved, but after that, all returns will be prepared.

"The time it takes to prepare a return depends on each person's situation. An appointment could be as quick as 15 minutes, but for more complicated returns could last a couple of hours," he said. "If you have all your ducks in a row and bring all the forms you need, the process is much easier and quicker. However, please make an appointment with the center before coming in."

Captain Henley said each Maxwell-Gunter unit also has a unit tax advisor, or UTA, that can offer advice about filing a return. He said using UTAs can save the tax payer and the tax center time and effort, and may eliminate a person's need to visit the center.

"The base tax center is an Internal Revenue Service volunteer income tax assistance, or VITA, program, and our tax preparers receive special VITA training," he said. "The program is also a command base program designed to assist people in tax return preparation. That helps active duty members keep their minds on the mission."

Captain Henley said an advantage to working as a volunteer preparer is the vast amount of information about tax preparation a person receives from the training and work. He said the center currently has more than 30 volunteers, but if someone is interested in volunteering, they should contact him by telephone at 953-2786.

For more information, or to make an appointment, call 953-2786.

What to bring to the tax session
  • Proof of Identification.
  • Social Security cards for you, your spouse and dependants.
  • Birth dates of you, your spouse and dependants.
  • Current year's tax package if you received one.
  • Wage and earning statements.
  • Forms W-2 and W-2G from all employers and Form1099 series documents.
  • Interest and dividend statements from banks.
  • Copies of last year's federal and state tax returns.
  • Bank routing numbers and account numbers for direct deposit.
  • Total paid for day care, and the day care provider's tax identification number.
    Medical expense records.
    Mortgage and closing documents.
    Home improvement records.
    Proof of charitable contributions.
    Receipts for non-reimbursement business expenses.
    Self-employment income and expense documentation.
    Documents for any other deductions you plan to claim.