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Home : News : News
NEWS | Oct. 12, 2012

JBSA-Randolph tax center staff seeks volunteers

By Alex Salinas Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Public Affairs

An increase in customers at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph's tax center is the exact opposite from other tax centers Air Force-wide. The upward trend for filing taxes on-line shouldn't be an issue, according to LaMarr Queen, Randolph Tax Center coordinator. In fact, the customer base has increased for three years straight.

The bottom line for him is he's going to need more help.

"It's amazing how we keep increasing our numbers year after year," Queen said. "We processed 1,645 returns in 2010; 1,719 returns in 2011; and 1,773 returns in 2012," saving Randolph community members more than $340,000 in preparation fees and securing more than $3.3 million in tax refunds last year.

Being properly prepared for the upcoming season means Queen will add volunteers to the tax center cadre.

Volunteers can be active duty, civilian employees, retirees, or their dependents.
If someone wishes to volunteer but does not have a Common Access Card, he should contact Queen as soon as possible.

Queen said increased security on Air Force networks has increased the wait to get a CAC, which volunteers need to perform a tax preparation.

Volunteers need not worry about having prior experience filing taxes; the tax center offers training to teach new volunteers how to perform varying tax returns.

Free Internal Revenue Service-provided training for tax center representatives is scheduled for Dec. 3-7 at Randolph.

"The course will teach volunteers specific tax law and how to prepare tax returns involving a wide array of specific tax issues," Queen said.

Once trained, "Volunteer Income Tax Assistance representatives are encouraged to assist clients by pulling at least one four-hour shift per week at the Randolph Tax Center," Queen said. "However, volunteers won't have to necessarily come to the tax center to prepare someone's taxes. They will be able to set their own schedules for clients and operate from any Internet-connected computer in their duty sections or at home."

Long-time tax center volunteer, David Searcy, Headquarters Air Education and Training Command training pipeline manager, said the increase in the center's tax filings is "the result of Queen being accommodating with the volunteers he has and working with their schedules."

Searcy recognized the learning process to help others as the ultimate benefit of becoming a VITA representative.

"The first thing that happens (as a volunteer) is you learn, in the most basic way, how to properly file your own taxes," he said. "This in turn not only helps you, but also your family, friends and even people in the office with whom you work."

Master Sgt. Melissa O'Kane, the 902nd Mission Support Group law office superintendent, said she agrees that the tax center volunteers make a big difference.

Volunteers make an impact on the lives of people in the JBSA community, she said, whether it's helping someone save money for a vacation or to pay for school.

To volunteer for the VITA program at Randolph, call Queen at the tax center, Bldg. 202, at 652-1040 or email him at Volunteers can also sign up by calling the base legal office at 652-6781.