FORT BENNING, Ga. - With the tax filing deadline a little more than three months away, the Fort Benning tax center is offering free services to active-duty Soldiers, retirees and eligible family members beginning Jan. 20.

Capt. Ashley Jolissaint, officer in charge of the center, said the average single Soldier who used the tax center could save about $500. A family of four would save around $900.

Preparers from the tax center saved Soldiers and their families more than $640,000 during the 2010 tax season by offering free tax preparation with more than $7,500,000 received by Soldiers through tax refunds last year.

Jolissaint credited the 24 Soldiers and two civilian volunteers for last year's numbers, along with the training they received.

"I'm very pleased and impressed with the group of people that I have," said Jolissaint. "They were just as accurate as other professionals because of their training."

Staff Sgt. David Garver said he received his tax training through the IRS with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program.

"It's good knowledge to have," said Sgt. James Goldstein, who also received his training through the VITA program. "If you know how the tax system works, you can really work your year around it to get as many tax advantages as you can."

Jolissaint said before visiting the tax center it is important to remember to bring Social Security cards for Soldiers and all members of the family.

She said often times the military ID cards for spouses and Social Security cards don't match. Using the military ID card would cause the returns to be kicked back from the IRS because the IRS doesn't recognize the name on the military ID card.

She suggested people go to the Social Security office now to get new Social Security cards so they would have them by the time the tax center opened.

Garver said before getting help on taxes, a person should call ahead to make sure they have all proper documentation.

Because tax preparers are only recording the information they are given, if a return is audited it is up to the filer to be able to prove their claims, Garver said.

He said possible audits is why it is important to keep important documentation for a few years in case of an audit.

"If you are going to try and claim something, it's best to have supportive documents," Goldstein said.
The tax center is located in Brown Hall in Building 328 at 7250 Ingersoll Street.

The Fort Benning Tax Center will be open until April 18. Daily hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, except Thursday. Thursday hours are 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. No appointment is necessary.

Tax returns are filed electronically. Any refund checks issued will usually be received within 7 to twelve days.
For more information, call 706-545-4267.

What you need to bring with you:

Aca,!Ac W-2 for all wages received
Aca,!Ac Social Security Card for member, spouse, and dependents
Aca,!Ac Receipts for Charitable Contribution
Aca,!Ac Power of Attorney (if necessary)
Aca,!Ac Interest Statement (1099 INT)
Aca,!Ac Divorce Decree if applicable
Aca,!Ac Proof of childcare expenses
Aca,!Ac IRA/TSP Contribution Statement
Aca,!Ac Stimulus payment statement
Aca,!Ac Statements reflecting Capital Gains/Loss Dividend Income Statement (1099 DIV)
Aca,!Ac Bank information with routing and account number (voided check preferred)
Aca,!Ac Military ID (self and dependents)
Aca,!Ac Property tax receipts
Aca,!Ac Home Mortgage Interest Statement
Aca,!Ac Student Loan Interest Statement
Aca,!Ac Prior year Federal and Statement tax return
Aca,!Ac Separation Agreement (if applicable)
Aca,!Ac Proof of educational expenses
Aca,!Ac HUD 1 Statement (if purchased home in 2010)
Aca,!Ac Educator expenses
* Bring two copies of each document.

Page last updated Wed January 12th, 2011 at 09:40