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Tax office urges Airmen to file returns early this year

By Sean Bowlin | 12th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs | Jan. 5, 2010

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas — This month, the Randolph Tax Office is beefing up its volunteer staff and encourages potential clients to file their taxes with them as soon as possible.

"Instead of somebody going downtown to do so and paying a company $300 or $400, we do it here for free," said LaMarr Queen, Randolph AFB tax program manager, who added once base clients receive W-2 and 1099 forms, it's incumbent upon them to call and set an appointment. "So, keep your paperwork together and don't wait until April 14. Because then, it's too late."

He added from Jan. 18 through April 14, clients may call the tax office to set appointments to complete returns with a Volunteer Income Tax Assistant. Mr. Queen and his staff of VITA volunteers will begin seeing tax clients Feb. 1 through April 14.

The number of VITA volunteers, he said, will likely be more than doubled this year compared to last year.

"Last year, we had 25 volunteers. This year, we have them back, plus 27 more," Mr. Queen added. "So if they all pass their tests and get certified by the IRS, we're more than ready."

Mr. Queen's assistant, Capt. Eric Hart, Randolph Tax Attorney, said the program is sponsored by the base legal office.

"We're running the site, managing the returns and assisting volunteers with managing their time. Every document is quality-reviewed," the captain added, saying that each return is reviewed twice by the client before it leaves a volunteer tax preparer's desk. Then, Mr. Queen and the captain will each review every return.

The result is that the Team Randolph VITA Program, run by the Tax Office, had one of the lowest tax return rejection rates in the country last year. This thorough approach, Mr. Queen said, also saved Team Randolph clients more than $350,000 in filing fees and brought clients more than $2.9 million in refunds last tax season. Then, volunteers processed 1,526 returns last year, staying open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fridays.

"That really kept us humping last year," he laughed.

To set an appointment, call 652-1040.