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Tax center opens

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Ann Bennett
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
Andersen's Tax Center is now open, saving Airmen money when it comes to filing their federal and state income taxes. 

This free service for active duty military members and their dependents is provided by the 36th Wing Legal Office. Located in Building 21000 next to the Bank of Guam, the Tax Center's hours are noon to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. 

"It's a huge benefit to the base," said Stephanie Hansen, a tax specialist with three years' experience who runs the tax center. "We save filers a substantial amount of tax filing fees that they would normally pay at other agencies." 

Filers not only save money, "they also will have their taxes prepared by IRS-trained volunteers who are in compliance with IRS filing requirements," said Mrs. Hansen, who has a master's degree in business and administration with an emphasis in accounting. "Also, taxpayers may be eligible to e-file and receive their federal refund within three weeks." 

Army Staff Sgt. Bruce Meno and his wife Valerie have been using the tax center's services for the last five years. "They are helpful and we feel more confident in their abilities," said Valerie, admitting that they used to file their own taxes. 

"And it's free," said Sergeant Meno. 

In 2005, the tax center's volunteers processed more than 1,175 returns, collecting $1,605,764 in refunds, saving Team Andersen close to $102,625 in tax preparation fees.
Although only active duty members are currently being seen, the service will be available to retirees and command-sponsored civilians when the center's workload slows down, said Mrs. Hansen. 

All filers must take social security cards or military identification cards for themselves and dependents, along with copies of their W-2s, interest statements, and any other pertinent information, documents and forms, such as mortgage interest statements, education statements, and child care provider statements with the provider's employer identification number and address. 

If filers would like to receive their returns by direct deposit, they must also take their bank account and routing information to their appointment at the tax center. 

Mondays are reserved for 1040EZ filers only -- walk-in or by appointment. The filing requirements for filing a 1040EZ are: 

Filing Status: Single or Married Filing Jointly 

Exemptions: Personal Only, No Dependents 

Income: Wages, salaries, tips, unemployment compensation, and taxable interest not over $1500. 

No Adjustments 

Standard Deduction Only 

No Credits (Generally individuals who have dependents, contribute to the TSP or an IRA or want to deduct education expenses are eligible for a credit and they may not file a 1040EZ) 

Those who do not meet the requirements for filing a 1040EZ must file either a 1040 or 1040A and must make an appointment to be seen at the center. 

For more information about the tax center or to schedule an appointment, call 366-4829.
There are 24 tax center volunteers who had to attend a one-week training course before being able to work in the center. 

Airman 1st Class Craig Bennett, a hydrant operator with the 36th Logistics Readiness Squadron, is a tax center volunteer who helps with answering phone calls and scheduling appointments as well as filing state and federal tax returns. This is his first year as a tax center volunteer, and he said he wanted to be a volunteer to get a better insight into taxes - to know the ins and outs; and he also wanted to help people. 

"I was trained on easy to somewhat difficult returns. It was pretty good training by an IRS-certified trainer," he said. 

As for Mrs. Hansen, she said she keeps up with all the changes of filing income taxes by taking and passing the regulation portion of the CPA exam and taking a continuing education tax course within the last six months. 

She noted that the IRS Volunteer Training materials are also very helpful, and so is the IRS Publication 17, "Your Federal Income Tax for Individuals." 

"For those who want to file their own taxes, we have copies of these publications and forms available at the tax center," said Mrs. Hansen. She advises filers to also go to www.irs.gov for tax updates.

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