Fort McCoy News January 23, 2015

McCoy VITA program prepares for 2015 tax season

During 2015, the Fort McCoy Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Center will provide tax preparation services for authorized active-duty military-personnel and their Families, to include electronic filing (e-filing) of both federal and state tax returns.

James Markgraf, Fort McCoy VITA coordinator at the Installation Legal Office, said many volunteers from last year's program, including Air Force personnel, have indicated their intent to return as volunteers to assist clients.

The Fort McCoy VITA Center will begin scheduling appointments for income tax assistance Jan. 26, with actual return preparation beginning the first full-week of February. Appointments are required and can be made in person, or by calling 608-388-4117 on or after Jan. 26.

Eligible personnel for 2015 include active-duty personnel and their Family members only. In the past, VITA services had been extended to military retirees and Reserve members. Decreased resources, combined with increasing numbers of active-duty Soldiers being assigned to Fort McCoy, require new restrictions on the program. For more information regarding eligibility in the Fort McCoy community, call 608-388-8751.

VITA services remain free and include federal and state income tax preparation and e-filing services. For now, active-duty military personnel interested in receiving VITA services are encouraged to begin identifying and assembling the documents they will need to prepare and submit their tax returns, such as Social Security cards, tax-withholding statements (W-2s), interest or dividends statements (1099s), property taxes paid, records of any other itemized deductions, and all other pertinent tax documents.

With regard to military retirees and Reservists, many other organizations in the community offer VITA services with free income tax return assistance.

The Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center again will offer a VITA program for qualified veterans, and AARP is active at multiple locations within the state. Please note each site likely will implement some qualifications for their free services and may include restricting eligible clients based on their total income.

VITA guidelines generally limit free services to low- to moderate-income tax payers with an adjusted gross income of approximately $53,000 or less.

Websites for income tax return information are: federal, www.irs.gov; and state of Wisconsin, www.revenue.wi.gov.

Both websites offer information for anyone preparing their own tax returns or simply trying to clarify tax issues. Electronic versions of income tax forms are also available at these sites. Paper copies of tax forms are no longer available in bulk.

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

(See related story.)

(Provided by the Installation Legal Office.)