[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                    January 23, 2009
News

VITA Center to open for season 
Feb. 9 to serve military

By Rob Schuette, The Real McCoy Staff

The Fort McCoy Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Center is accepting appointments and will open for the season, beginning Monday, Feb. 9.

The free service, which includes e-filing, is available to authorized active-duty and retired military personnel and their family members.

Several changes in federal income tax regulations will benefit Fort McCoy taxpayers who are filing 2008 income tax returns.


"With the change, we are requesting everyone making an appointment with VITA who receives property tax statements to bring them along."

Rita Byers,
Fort McCoy VITA Center

Rita Byers of the Fort McCoy VITA program said the one change that likely will benefit the most personnel using the VITA services increases the standard deduction by a portion of the state or local real estate tax payments they make. Taxpayers who itemize their deductions will not be affected by this change as they can include their real estate taxes when calculating their itemized deduction expenses.

"With the change, we are requesting everyone making an appointment with VITA who receives property tax statements to bring them along," Byers said. "It is not only needed for federal income taxes, but often can be used to get tax credits on state income taxes."

Personnel who claim the standard deduction and pay local or state real estate taxes may see an increase in their standard deduction, which generally will be up to $500 per taxpayer or $1,000 if filing jointly.

Mimi Gonzales, an IRS tax consultant in Milwaukee, said the other changes to note include increasing the alternative minimum tax (AMT) exemption amount, expanding the Individual Retirement Account (IRA) deduction and a recovery rebate credit opportunity for military personnel.

The AMT exemption has increased to $46,200 if filing as a single taxpayer ($69,950 if filing jointly or as a qualifying widow(er), and $34,975 if filing married and separately).

Taxpayers who make an IRA contribution may be able to deduct up to $5,000 each if filing jointly, $6,000 if age 50 or older at the end of the year (2008).

For those covered by a retirement plan, they may be able to take an IRA deduction if their 2008 modified adjusted gross income is less than $63,000 ($105,000 if filing jointly or as a qualifying widow(er)). If a spouse is covered by a retirement plan, and you weren’t you may be able to take an IRA deduction if your 2008 adjusted gross income is less than $169,000.

Some military taxpayers may be eligible for a recovery rebate credit. This is based on the same criteria as the 2007 tax year economic stimulus rebate, which was paid in 2008. The recovery rebate credit will be reduced by any amount received as an economic stimulus rebate.

The IRS is not treating the economic stimulus rebate as a taxable income credit, as it does for state or local tax refunds, for those personnel who itemize their deductions, Gonzales said.

"Taxpayers should note that they may be mailing their return to a different address this year because the IRS has changed the filing location for several areas," Gonzales said. "If you received an envelope with your tax package, you are encouraged to use it."

More information about federal income tax returns is available at the Web site http://www.irs.gov.

More information about state income tax returns is available at the Web site for each state. For Wisconsin, the Web site for individual state income tax returns is http://www.revenue.wi.gov/html/indiv.html, which also includes a link to tax forms/information from other states.

To make a VITA appointment in the Fort McCoy community, call (608) 388-2165. For more information about the program, call (608) 388-4117.

 

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