Tax Center open for business
February 4, 2010
- Tax Center
Tax season is here and once again members of the Fort McPherson U.S. Army Garrison Office of the Staff Judge Advocate have stepped up to handle tax returns.
The staff, which filed more than 2,000 returns last year cost free, opened the center's doors for business Monday at Bldg. 52 on Fort McPherson. The center is open to all military members, retirees and their Family members, said Marcia Parker, chief of client services, USAG OSJA.
Even before business began, Sgt. 1st Class Alpheaus Brumfield, telephone control officer, G-6, Third Army/U.S. Army Central, and wife, Shay, a Federal Express employee, were on hand to get their paperwork filed.
"We've got our taxes done there since 2006," said Shay, adding the service is always exceptional. "There's no problem at all, and it usually only takes seven days to get a return back."
That return, Shay said, will end up in her savings. Also, because she and her husband used the free tax center, the couple will save even more.
"Outside, the average file costs $125 to $200," Parker said. Last year, the tax center filed more than 2,000 claims, saving Soldiers, their Families and retirees more than $400,000 in fees.
This year, all of the work will be made possible by a staff of volunteers, said Lt. Col. Meg Foreman, USAG staff judge advocate.
"This year is different. Normally, volunteers augment the work force. This year they are the work force," she said.
Although funds are normally available to hire a staff, due to a reduced budget this year, the center will totally rely on the volunteers, Foreman said.
Several Soldiers were also tasked to help. Still, despite the lack of a hired staff, Parker said service will still be exceptional.
"Our volunteers have lots of experience," she said. "Some volunteers have served here 15-plus years."
All 20 volunteers, regardless of experience, had to attend four days of classes to qualify to work in the center, said first-year volunteer Frank Valdez, a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist.
Valdez, who retired from the U.S Army Ground Forces Band at Fort McPherson, said he always wanted to volunteer but was never able to due to scheduling conflicts.
However, this year, his schedule allowed him to attend the tax preparer certification classes.
"I think helping the troops is important. It's a nice way to show appreciation for Soldiers and retirees," he said. "It's nice to see so many step up to help."
The center is open Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. by appointment. Those without itemized deductions can walk in daily from 1 until 3 p.m. For more information or to make an appointment, call 464-2438.