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NEWS | Jan. 4, 2007

Tax center sets hours, gives tips for tax season


Tax season is coming and once again the Team Lackland Tax Center will offer free tax preparation and filing assistance to active duty, Reserve, National Guard and retirees for both state and federal taxes.

This year the tax center has moved to the training side of Lackland. It shares a space in the Carswell Administration Building, Bldg. 9050, Suite 3700. The building is directly behind clothing sales at 1700 Carswell Ave.

"I hope the new location will bring more customers this tax season. The new location is more accessible and should be a great asset, especially for basic trainees and tech school students that do not have vehicle transportation," said Staff Sgt. Sara Williams, NCO in charge of the tax center.

The tax center will be open beginning Feb. 5. 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 all, with exception for basic trainees and technical school students. They may be seen on a walk-in basis.

In addition to the tax center, each unit and organization will have at least one unit tax advisor ready to assist with income tax returns.

The unit tax advisors 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 federal returns.

Active-duty members are strongly encouraged to seek assistance from their UTAs before coming to the tax center. Each orderly room will be provided a list of names for their UTA.

As the tax season approaches, additional tax information will appear in the Talespinner. Until then, 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 claims for 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 provides this benefit.

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.

Qualified individuals may begin calling the appointment line Jan. 29 at 671-7983, 671-7984 or 671-7985.

(Courtesy of the Tax Center.)