The March Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) center recently ended its regular tax season with a luncheon and awards presentation hosted by the Caliente Bar and Grill in Moreno Valley.
Col. Russell Muncy, 452 Air Mobility Wing Commander, presided over the awards presentation for the volunteers present.
In an unprecedented display of true inter-service support, Muncy and Army Col. Lawrence E. Howard helped coordinate a unique show of recognition.
“Air Force military volunteers received Army Achievement Medals and Army volunteers received Air Force Achievements Medals for their hard work and tireless efforts to achieve these phenomenal stats for the 2013-2014 tax year,” said Lt. Col. Deric Prescott, Staff Judge Advocate and tax center coordinator.
Muncy authorized a very rare and prestigious award for the center’s Senior Tax Preparer, Effie J. White, she became March Air Reserve Base’s first and only recipient of the Commander’s Public Service Award. White has been a volunteer at the center since it first opened in 2011 and has logged more than 2,000 volunteer hours helping the men and women of Team March.
As of April 26, the VITA Center has filed more than 850 state and federal income tax returns, resulting in a savings of approximately $116,770 in tax preparation fees and more than $1.1 million in refunds. Not only is the March VITA Center the only one of its kind in AFRC, but it was ranked as the top first-year site in 2012 and the top site for increases in returns from one year over the next for 2013 and 2014. The Team March site was also the only military site to post over a 20 percent gain in returns prepared for 2014.
Hector Diaz, owner of Caliente Bar and Grill, was honored to host the luncheon. “The folks at March ARB, Army, Air Force, Marine, Navy, they are part of our Moreno Valley family,” Diaz said. “I love to support them and hearing all that the tax center did makes me proud we have so many people who not only volunteer for (military service), but then volunteer again to help others in the military”
“Service to all of the members of Team March is what March ARB stands for, and my tax center is a shining example of a truly ‘purple’ operation where we have Army and Air Force volunteers servicing clients from Guard, Reserve, Active Duty and retirees from all branches,” noted Muncy. “I could not be more proud of what my tax center has done – and have challenged and encouraged the volunteers to continue to reach out to the community and help our neighbors.”
Prescott added that with more volunteers and, perhaps, a little more office space, many more members of the local area could be assisted. “If you have an ID card that allows you access to March ARB, our tax center will be here to help you.”
During the non-tax season, men and women of Team March can continue to receive assistance on the preparation and filing of tax returns for free. To schedule an appointment, call 951-655-3659 and leave a message or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Appointments are only available on Wednesdays from 1 – 3 p.m. Messages and emails will be checked Wednesday morning.
Tips for Taxpayers Who Missed the Tax Deadline
If you missed the April 15 tax filing deadline, don’t panic. Here’s some advice.
•File as soon as you can. If you owe taxes, you should file and pay as soon as you can. This will help minimize the interest and penalty charges. There is no penalty for filing a late return if you are due a refund.
•IRS E-file is still available. IRS e-file is available through Oct. 15. E-file is the easiest, safest and most accurate way to file your taxes. With e-file you receive confirmation that the IRS received your tax return. If you e-file and choose direct deposit of your refund, you’ll normally get it within 21 days.
•Pay as much as you can. If you owe tax but can’t pay it all at once, try to pay as much as you can when you file your tax return. Pay the remaining balance as soon as possible to stop further penalties and interest.
•Make a payment agreement online. If you need more time to pay your taxes, you can apply for a payment plan with the IRS. The easiest way to apply is to use the IRS Online Payment Agreement tool. You can also mail Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request. The tool and form are both available at IRS.gov.
•A refund may be waiting. If you’re due a refund, you should file as soon as possible to get it. Even if you are not required to file, you may still get a refund. This could apply if you had taxes withheld from your wages or you qualify for certain tax credits. If you don’t file your return within three years, you could forfeit your right to the refund.
Tax Information for Members of the U.S. Armed Forces
For federal tax purposes, the U.S. Armed Forces personnel in all regular and reserve units controlled by the Secretaries of Defense, the Army, Navy and Air Force. The Coast Guard is also included, but not the U.S. Merchant Marine or the American Red Cross. However, these and other support personnel may qualify for certain tax deadline extensions because of their service in a combat zone.