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February 7, 2014

Don’t wait until April 15

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Gustavo Bahena
Public Affairs Office NTC and Fort Irwin

Fort Irwin Tax Center offers free income tax filing for Soldiers, Families, others who qualify

(Left to right, foreground) Command Sgt. Maj. Stephen Travers, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Miller, and Maj. Gen. Ted Martin cut a ribbon at this year’s traditional opening of the Fort Irwin Tax Center, Jan. 17. Martin and Travers are the National Training Center and Fort Irwin command team. Miller is the NTC Staff Judge Advocate. Miller’s organization operates the tax center.

There remains approximately two months until the deadline for filing income tax returns.

If you think you have a refund coming to you, why wait for April 15 to file? And if you’ll owe, you don’t want to pay interest on the amount Uncle Sam wants to collect from you.

Either way, if you have questions about filing taxes, the place to visit is the Fort Irwin Tax Center in building 288 on Barstow Road, across from the Center Chapel. Free tax preparation services are offered to: active duty Soldiers and their dependents; military retirees and their dependents, and; Reserve and National Guard Soldiers on orders for 30 days or more. The Tax Center opened its doors to the community on Jan. 21; hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, and they make appointments by phone at 380-3604. Walk-in customers are also welcome. Service on some Saturdays will also be available.

What can the tax center do for you? Well, last year, the center generated $3,168,676 in tax refunds and saved $214,911 in tax preparation fees for the 1,097 customers it served, according to Capt. Joseph Galli, an attorney with the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, here. Returns are filed by six Soldiers (from various units here) trained in tax preparation certified by the Internal Revenue Service, said Galli.
They will be assisted by two trained volunteers.

At the traditional Tax Center ribbon cutting ceremony, Jan. 17, National Training Center and Fort Irwin commander Maj. Gen. Ted Martin met and spoke with the center staff. He praised the Soldiers and volunteers for serving the community, who is the benefactor of a service considered indispensable by leadership.

“The command decided that this was an essential element of taking care of Soldiers and their Families,” Martin said. “The best we can do for our Families is, at least, lessen the burden. Times are tough and every dollar counts. Why would we spend money to have somebody help us do those taxes when we have this great opportunity here?”
Customers of the tax center should bring paperwork that includes: military ID card; social security card; W-2; 1099-R; 1099-INT or other tax documents regarding income and expenses, and; last year’s tax return. For more information call 380-3604.




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