Tax Season Gets Underway at KMC
January 31, 2014
Doors opened at tax centers across the Kaiserslautern Military Community following a ribbon-cutting event Jan. 28 on Kleber Kaserne.
Flanked by tax preparers from the 21st Theater Sustainment Command and Kaiserslautern Legal Services Center personnel, Col. Bryan DeCoster, commander of the U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz, had the honor of snipping the ceremonial dollar-bill ribbon in front of the tax center office in Building 3210. It was an appropriate prop to set the stage for this year's tax filing season.
"We save people a lot of money," said Mark Christensen, counselor at law at the Legal Services Center. "Last year, we saved people over $700,000 in filing fees because everything we do is free."
Despite announcing their official grand opening, tax preparers in KMC have already been assisting a steady wave of customers since W-2s and 1099s were released in January. There are two tax centers available on Kleber Kaserne and the Landstuhl Military Installation that offer walk-in and drop-off services.
Christensen said refund dollars generated last year out of these two KMC tax centers topped nearly $7 million. That number is expected to be even higher this year, as 21st TSC works to expand its tax services base by opening a drop-off-only satellite office on Pulaski Barracks.
"We have the space," said Cpt. Chris Leighton, 21st TSC officer in charge of the Kaiserslautern Tax Center. "We're just waiting for the material - computers, printers, hardware - to arrive."
Christensen advises community members who are ready to file to come prepared with their personal documents, to include W-2s, 1099s, bank direct deposit information, prior-year returns, mortgage statements and any other forms related to rental property or self employment.
"Some people have foreign spouses; they do childcare out of their home, or they have rental property back in the States," said Christensen, "so of course some returns can get complicated."
The traditional deadline for federal and state tax returns is April 15, 2014. However, military and civilian members serving overseas have a two-month automatic extension, pushing their filing due date to June 15, 2014. Despite the couple of months of breathing room, it's still best not to wait until the last minute.
This year, the Internal Revenue Service announced the new W-2 health insurance reporting requirement, as part of the Affordable Care Act. According to an IRS release, employers are now required to report the aggregate cost of certain types of employer-provided health coverage on an employee's W-2.
For information on this and other tax law changes, go to www.irs.gov or visit your 21st TSC tax experts for assistance.