Fort McCoy News Jan. 8, 2016

McCoy VITA program preps for tax season

The Fort McCoy Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Center will provide tax-preparation services for active-duty military personnel and their Families, to include e-filing both federal and state tax returns, during the 2016 tax season.

Fort McCoy VITA Coordinator James N. Markgraf with the Installation Legal Office said many volunteers who supported last year's program will return to assist military clients. The Fort McCoy VITA Center will begin scheduling appointments for income-tax assistance Jan. 25. Appointments are required and can be made in person or by calling (608) 388-4117.

Similar to last filing season, active-duty personnel and their Family members can receive assistance at the Fort McCoy VITA site. For more information regarding eligibility, call (608) 388-8751.

Photo
James Markgraf with the Installation Legal Office makes preparations for
the Volunteer Income Tax (VITA) Program while working in his office at Fort McCoy.
Photo by Scott T. Sturkol

VITA offers free federal and state income-tax preparation and e-filing. Internal Revenue Service officials recommend e-filing income-tax returns. E-filing gets refunds into taxpayers' hands more quickly and tends to be more accurate than manually completing and mailing forms. E-filing also gives taxpayers confirmation that their tax returns have been received and allows direct deposit of refunds.

More information is available about federal returns at www.irs.gov and Wisconsin returns at www.revenue.wi.gov. Both websites offer excellent information for anyone preparing their own tax returns or trying to clarify tax issues. Electronic versions of income-tax forms also are available at these sites. Paper copies of tax forms are no longer available in bulk.

Active-duty military personnel and Family members interested in receiving VITA services are encouraged to begin identifying and assembling documents they will need for preparation and submission of their tax returns: Social Security cards, tax-withholding statements (W-2s), interest or dividends statements (1099s), property taxes paid, rent certificates, records for itemized deductions, and all other pertinent tax documents.

Many other organizations in the community offer free tax-return assistance for military retirees and reservists. The Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center will offer a VITA program for qualified veterans, and AARP is active at multiple locations in the state. Each site will likely implement some requirements for their free services, which may include restricting clients based on their total income.

VITA guidelines generally offer free services to income-tax payers with adjusted gross incomes of approximately $54,000 or less in 2015.

   (Submitted by the Installation Legal Office.)