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JBSA News
NEWS | Nov. 18, 2010

Randolph's tax assistance program seeks volunteers

By Robert Goetz 502nd Air Base Wing OL-B Public Affairs

The Randolph Tax Center is seeking volunteers to help members of the base community prepare their 2010 federal tax returns.

Volunteers can be active-duty personnel, civilian employees, retirees or dependents and will undergo Internal Revenue Service training Nov. 29 to Dec. 3 at the tax center, which is scheduled to open Jan. 31 for tax season. The course will teach volunteers how to prepare tax returns and handle a wide range of specific tax issues, providing them with all the training they need.

LaMarr Queen, Randolph tax program coordinator, called volunteers the "heart and soul" of the center's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, which is run in conjunction with the IRS and supervised by specialists from the base legal office.

"Without their gracious donations of time and effort, we wouldn't have such a valuable program for our Randolph community," he said. "They deserve all the thanks we can give them."

Mr. Queen said Randolph volunteers are encouraged to work at least one four-hour shift per week at the Randolph Tax Center, but they don't have to come to the tax center to prepare tax returns. They may set their own schedules for clients and operate from any Internet-connected computer in their duty sections or at home.

Because tax assistance may be accomplished during duty hours, unit commanders and supervisors must give interested individuals their permission before volunteering, he said.

Mr. Queen said the program also needs volunteers for duties other than preparing tax returns.

"We can also use general assistance in receptionist duties, filing and making copies," he said. "Regardless of the amount of time you can volunteer, or the extent of your expertise, we can most certainly use your help."

Capt. Joel Andreason, Randolph tax program attorney, said he is looking forward to working with volunteers.

"For many in the Randolph community, navigating the intricacies of the tax code can be stressful," he said. "Life-changing events such as the death of a spouse, the birth of a child or the purchase of a new home may have unanticipated tax consequences, good or bad. The volunteers help alleviate the stress. I think it is great that so many are willing to help at such an important time of year."

Mr. Queen said volunteers assisted more than 1,600 Randolph community members last year, saving clients more than $416,000 in preparation fees and securing more than $3.6 million in tax refunds.

"I didn't think we could top the year before, but last year's numbers surpassed all my expectations," he said. "The VITA tax preparers were nothing less than phenomenal. It was an honor for me to work with each of them during the tax filing season. Their dedication, hard work and commitment to the Randolph community were an inspiration to me."

To volunteer for the VITA tax program, e-mail Mr. Queen at jonnie.queen@randolph.af.mil or call him at 652-1040 or 652-6781.