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Tax season simplified

  • Published
  • By Airman First Class Whitney Tucker
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
It's time to get a calculator, some sharp pencils, W-2s, W-4s and every shred of paper that could help save a little money as April 15 creeps up once again.

A visit to the Internal Revenue Service's website will result in more than 1,100 different forms for federal taxes featuring confusing phrases scattered throughout, such as "ordinary dividends," "capital gain," and "attach Schedule D if required."

For those who have never done taxes before, or who just can't make sense of the ever-changing system, Andersen has a free tax center manned by trained volunteers who can help you up, over and around the phrases and tax terms.

"The tax center is a wing program focused on helping ranks E-5 and below," said Airman First Class Matthew Huston, 36th Wing Judge Advocate Office administrative law paralegal. "Unit Tax Advisors have been trained in a week long course given by a Senior VITA instructor to help prepare tax returns for the 2010 tax year."

Filers should bring ID cards, W-2, 1099 and 1098 forms as well as Social Security cards for dependents and last year's returns.

"Tax advisors will assist in all tax preparation such as 1040's, 1040ez and limited state returns," Airman Huston said. "Appointments are slotted for members itemizing tax returns; active-duty members will take precedence. Additionally, we provide IRS handouts and specific Power of Attorneys for deployed members."

Easing the load for the tax center, volunteers at the Airman and Family Readiness Center have offered their expertise on the subject.

"We have been conducting classes to offer further education to taxpayers," said Cat Harrington, a student at the Association for Financial Counseling, Planning and Education. "Whether they file independently, through an online service, or pay a professional, the taxpayer is ultimately responsible for their taxes."

Mrs. Harrington and fellow AFCPE student, Cristel Boedecker, have offered to conduct squadron tax briefings for those with a large number of interested Airmen.

"We want everyone to be capable of doing their own taxes," Mrs. Harrington said. "It's all about learning the terminology and understanding the forms. Once you can do this, it won't matter what system you use. It will make sense to you."

Many view tax season as a hair-pulling, number-crunching time of year, but with the help of Andersen volunteers, the stress of April 15 can become a thing of the past.

The tax center is located in Building 21000 and will be open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. beginning Feb. 1. To contact them, call 366-4TAX(4829). To contact the Airman and Family Readiness Center, call 366-8136.