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Legal office to train for base tax assistance

ANDREWS AFB, Md. -- Servicemembers at Andrews will soon be able to receive assistance in filling out their 2006 income tax forms from volunteers trained as tax preparers.

Servicemembers currently serving as tax advisors in their units will help with tax preparations under the Internal Revenue Service's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, said Capt. Sophia B. Crawford, 316th Wing Legal Office legal assistance chief.
"The 60 unit tax advisors are from the 316 WG, 89th Airlift Wing, 79th Medical Wing, 113th Wing and 744th Communications Squadron," said Captain Crawford. "Additional volunteers will be needed as tax preparers."

Volunteers may include members of the armed forces who are on Active Duty, retirees and their dependents with identification cards, said Captain Crawford. Department of Defense civilian employees may also volunteer.

Training will be held 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday in the 113th Wing auditorium in bldg. 3252, said Staff Sgt. Norman W. Senior, 316 WG Legal Office civil and operations law NCOIC.

"The volunteers will receive a 40-hour VITA course, which will teach them how to prepare basic income tax returns and take a Web-based test for their IRS certification," said Sergeant Senior. "The training entails education on the IRS code and specific tax laws for the military."

The VITA representatives must commit to eight 3-hour shifts at the Tax Center. They will be certified to prepare:

- Form 1040 EZ
- Form 1040A with Schedule 1, 2, 3 and EIC
- Form 1040 with Schedule A, B, EZ, EIC and R
- Form 1040-V
- Form 1040-ES
- Form 2441 (child and dependent care credit)
- Form 8863 (education credits)
- Form 8812 (additional child tax credits)

The Tax Center will be located in the Law Library in the 316 WG Legal Office, said Captain Crawford. The hours of operation will be 8 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 4 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, Jan. 29 to April 17.

The Tax Center will be closed 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for lunch and closed Fridays.
Captain Crawford said the Tax Center will provide assistance to members of the armed forces, retirees and their dependents with identification cards. Clients will also include Reservists, National Guard members and contract Reserve Officers' Training Corps cadets on orders.

"We will accept walk-ins, but that might change depending on the response," said the captain. "We will give sufficient notice if we go to appointments only."

All servicemembers seeking tax services must fill out the IRS Form 13614, Interview and Intake Sheet, she said. Individuals filing taxes for absent people must have the IRS Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative, proper military identification, proof of their Social Security Number and Social Security cards for minors claimed on a return. Reservists and National Guard members need to bring their orders, identification cards and W-2 and 1099 forms.

Each person must have all proper documentation when they come to the Tax Center, said Captain Crawford. This will enable the VITA representatives to help as many people as possible.

"In the past, we concentrated on assisting everyone in and out of our scope of responsibility," she said. "This wasn't fair because we were spending a lot of man-hours assisting members who had complex taxes, which took away from others who had simple taxes. Our purpose is to provide simple tax services to our members."

The Tax Center at Andrews helped prepare 925 income tax returns for 2005, which saved Active Duty members, Reservists, Guardsmen and retirees a total of $141,404, said Captain Crawford. Total income tax refunds were $1,609,532.
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