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February 10, 2012

News

McCoy VITA Center assisting military with

income tax preparation

Eligible military personnel in the Fort McCoy community who would like assistance with their income tax returns are encouraged to make an appointment with the installation’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Center program.
PHOTO: Rick Coffin (left), Fort McCoy Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Center income tax preparer, helps Bill Walters complete his 2011 taxes. Photo by Rob Schuette
Rick Coffin (left), a retired Navy veteran and Fort McCoy Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Center income tax preparer, helps Bill Walters, current Fort McCoy Retirement Services Officer and also a retired Navy veteran, complete his 2011 state and federal income tax returns. (Photo by Rob Schuette)

Appointments are filling up quickly, said Rita Byers, the Fort McCoy VITA coordinator. Eligible military personnel include active-duty servicemembers, retirees and their Family members.

Federal tax changes this year include the slight increase in personal exemptions and deductions and the widening of tax brackets due to inflation adjustments related to provisions modified or extended by legislation extending the Bush-era tax cuts. This also includes the increase of the maximum earned-income tax credit and the increase of the maximum income limit.
Other changes are less money available or caps on energy-credit programs.

Byers said the energy credit still is available, but those who have used it previously may not qualify for it or get a smaller amount than the maximum.

The credits are available for such things as replacing furnaces, windows or insulation to improve the energy efficiency of a house, she said.

Byers said those who e-filed state returns may not have paper copies of their 1099-Gs for state income tax refunds and unemployment compensation payments mailed to them. If taxpayers need this information, such as for itemizing their deductions, they will need to download it from the state website, Byers said.

Other changes include:
• The value of each personal and dependent exemption, available to most taxpayers, is $3,700, up $50 from 2010.
• The new standard deduction is $11,600 for married couples filing a joint return, up $200; $5,800 for singles and married individuals filing separately, up $100, and $8,500 for heads of household, also up $100. Nearly two-thirds of taxpayers take the standard deduction, rather than itemizing deductions, such as mortgage interest, charitable contributions and state and local taxes, including property taxes.
• Tax-bracket thresholds increased for each filing status for 2011 income-tax returns. For a married couple filing a joint return, for example, the taxable-income threshold separating the 15-percent bracket from the 25-percent bracket is $69,000, up from $68,000 in 2010.
• The maximum earned income-tax credit (EITC) for low- and moderate-income workers and working families is $5,751, up from $5,666 in 2010. The maximum income limit for the EITC is $49,078, up from $48,362 in 2010. The credit varies by family size, filing status and other factors, with the maximum credit going to joint filers with three or more qualifying children.

For more information about federal income tax returns, visit the website www.irs.gov.

For more information about state of Wisconsin income tax returns, visit the website www.revenue.wi.gov/.

Eligible military personnel in the Fort McCoy community, can make VITA appointments by calling 608-388-2165.

For more information about the program, call 608-388-4117.

Eligible military personnel also can use the income tax return assistance (H&R Block) available on the militaryonesource.com   website.

The site allows servicemembers to e-file one federal and up to three state income tax returns free.

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