Fort McCoy News January 24, 2014

ILO ramps up for tax season, seeks volunteers

The Fort McCoy Installation Legal Office (ILO) will offer free income tax preparation services for eligible legal assistance clients, including active-duty military and their dependents, retirees and their dependents, and Reserve service members who are on duty for more than 30 days.

Photo for VITA article
Col. Audrey Lewis, Garrison Staff Judge Advocate, and Jim Markgraf, paralegal assistant, review a 2013 Tax Guide provided by the Internal Revenue Service for use with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program. Photo by Scott T. Sturkol

ILO staff will offer the service to reservists who are not on active duty for more than 30 days, on a case-by-case basis.

The ILO's tax season is anticipated to run from the first week of February through tax day, April 15. Tax services include free e-filing and automatic deposit of refunds.

All services are provided, by appointment only, either at the ILO, building 1644 (across from the Commissary), or the South Post Military Family Housing Community Center (Thursday afternoons only), building 6158, on H Circle. Appointments will be available starting Monday, Feb. 3.

Appointments can be requested starting Monday, Jan. 27 by calling 608-388-2165, and selecting option 4. People will be asked to leave their name and phone number; someone then will follow up to set up an appointment. Social Security Cards for all Family members and dependents, as well as all tax documents (W-2s, Form 1099s, etc.) must be brought to tax appointments.

Children under the age of 10 should not be brought to tax appointments; bringing children to the appointment may result in rescheduling of your tax session.

In general, personnel who own businesses (with the exception of rental property) or are self-employed are not eligible recipients of tax services; however, exceptions can be made on a case-by-case-basis.

Active-duty service members who have one rental property qualify for tax services. Individual assessments will be made to determine whether retirees or those who own two or more rental properties qualify for free tax preparation.

If anyone in the Fort McCoy community would like to volunteer to become an income tax preparer, the ILO is looking for a few good people to serve in this capacity.

If you can answer "yes" to any of the following questions, the ILO requests that you consider volunteering to become a professional tax preparer in the VITA program: Are you interested in learning a new skill? Are you good with numbers? Do you desire to understand your own income taxes? Do you want to help Soldiers, Families and retirees?

Program volunteers are trained thoroughly to prepare 1040 EZ, 1040A, and 1040 federal income tax forms with associated schedules, deductions, credits, and rental property tax forms.

Volunteers gain a marketable skill, work with an experienced, supportive team, and provide a highly beneficial service for Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen, retirees and Family members.

Volunteers can set their own schedule. Those interested in serving can contact the ILO Legal Assistance Section at 608-388-2165, ext. 1, and leave their names and telephone numbers.

(Submitted by the Fort McCoy Installation Legal Office.)