Commentary

December 7, 2012

Spouse’s volunteer experience at tax center time well-spent

Being a military spouse can be lonely at times, especially when the military member is deployed. I like to fill my time by volunteering. In the past, I’ve volunteered for many things, but I never thought I would find myself at the Luke Air Force Base Tax Center.

Our family had just moved to Luke and I was making plans to visit the Airman and Family Readiness Center to get information on volunteer opportunities on and off base. My husband came home one day with a message from his first sergeant saying the tax center was really short on volunteers. My first thought was, “taxes, really?” Anything to do with taxes is the one thing I would rather avoid, but there was a need, and I was up for the challenge. To my surprise, I enjoyed the experience.

As with every move, you leave behind your group of friends and look forward to establishing new friendships. Volunteering at the tax center provided me with the opportunity to combine two of my favorite activities, meeting new people and helping others.

The tax center offers two types of training, classroom and online. The training covers all levels of preparation, starting from a very basic return to more difficult returns. I was able to choose a certificate level within my comfort zone. When I was preparing a client’s return, I never felt overwhelmed because I knew one of the other volunteers would be willing to answer my questions.

At the tax center, we offered free tax preparation and filing to all active-duty members, retirees and dependents. It was an honor to help these people. I was able to connect with people from all over the country, hear stories from retirees, and exchange information with active-duty members and spouses about places we had been stationed. Many of these clients are very grateful for the services the tax center offers.

Last tax season, the center was able to operate three days a week. In order to help as many tax payers as possible this season, more volunteers are needed. Volunteers can give as few as four hours a week.

Active-duty members who volunteer receive an enlisted performance report bullet, and it is a fantastic opportunity for retirees and military spouses to network and meet new people while helping current and former service members.

For more information on training to become a volunteer tax preparer, call the 56th Fighter Wing legal office at (623) 856-6901.




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