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Tax center sets hours, gives tips for tax season

By 1st Lt. Thomas Smith | 37th Training Wing | Jan. 25, 2008

LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, TEXAS — Tax season is here, and the Lackland Tax Center will be providing free tax preparation of both federal and state income tax returns for active duty, Reserve, National Guard, retired military and their family members.

This year the Lackland Tax Center will be located in Bldg. 1000 on Kenly Avenue directly across from the security forces building. Burger King is just down the street from Bldg. 1000, on the opposite side of Kenly Avenue from the tax center. The main entrance to the tax center will be the handicapped entrance for Bldg.1000.

The hours of operation will be Monday through Thursday, from 8-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m. The tax center will be closed on Fridays. Appointments are required for everyone except basic trainees and technical school students. They may be seen on a walk-in basis.

Active-duty members stationed at Security Hill will be served by the Security Hill Tax Center, which is being administered by the 67th Network Warfare. Call 969-2291 for more information. The tax center will be open for business Feb. 4.

In addition to the tax center, most units and organizations will have at least one unit tax advisor (UTA) ready to assist with income tax returns. UTAs will work out of their squadron and will have completed a comprehensive training course and examination to become certified. UTAs have reference materials and forms for processing returns. Active duty members are strongly encouraged to seek assistance from their UTA before coming to the tax center. A list of UTAs will provided to active duty members via e-mail.

On Jan. 28, qualified individuals may begin calling the following telephone numbers to schedule an appointment: 671-5812 and 671-5813.

Those who prefer to prepare and file their own taxes may stop by the Tax Center beginning Feb.4 and pick up the appropriate forms.

Look for additional information about the tax center in future editions of the Talespinner. In the meantime, here are some tips to remember to prepare for the upcoming tax season:

For those deploying, it may be helpful to designate someone to represent you on a federal tax matter.

To do this, fill out and sign IRS Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative, and provide it to the person you want to file your taxes. This IRS form does not require a notary. Only certain limited individuals may be designated as your representative. Examples include, but are not limited to, immediate family members, attorneys, and certified public accountants. Forms can be downloaded at www.irs.gov or can be picked up at the tax center in February.

For U.S. armed forces personnel serving in a combat zone, the IRS automatically extends the deadline for filing tax returns, paying taxes, filing a claim for a refund, and taking other actions related to federal income tax.

The IRS also extends the deadline for those deployed overseas, away from their permanent duty station, in support of operations in a qualified hazardous duty area but outside the qualified hazardous duty area.

The deadline for filing returns, making payments or taking any other action with the IRS is extended for at least 180 days after (1) the last day of the qualifying combat zone service, or (2) the last day of any continuous qualified hospitalization for injury from service in the combat zone.

Members may qualify for a deferral of taxes owed if they can show that their ability to pay taxes was affected by their military service.

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) provides this benefit. However, the deferral is not automatic. A taxpayer must apply for it. When applying, the taxpayer must show how the military service affected the taxpayer's ability to pay.

A taxpayer must also have received a notice of tax due or have an installment agreement with the IRS before applying for the deferral. The deferral does not extend the deadline for filing any tax returns.