FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Taxpayers have two extra days to file their income tax returns this year, and Fort Jackson is ready to help Soldiers and their families meet the April 17 deadline with free preparation and filing at the tax center.

The center will open 10 a.m., Jan. 23 in a new location at 3390 Magruder Ave.

The new location will be equipped to handle the needs of Soldiers and family members alike.

"There is a waiting room and a small play center for children, because we know people may need to bring their children," said Capt. Adam Wolrich, officer in charge of the tax center. "The key is for the Soldiers and families to have all of the documents needed for filing with them and ready because we value privacy and cannot save information or leave a file out to be completed later."

Taxes will be prepared by Fort Jackson Soldiers who volunteered for the opportunity to serve others.

"We have a well-trained group of Soldiers who are excited about helping people with their taxes this year," said Staff Sgt. R.J. Morales, assistant noncommissioned officer in charge of the tax center. "Soldiers volunteered for the training but had to make it through an interview process before being selected as part of the team here. Then, we all went to VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistant) training done by the IRS on basic level, intermediate level and military tax preparation."

The VITA training covers many areas of tax preparation, but some income situations are too complex for the Soldier volunteers.

"We won't be able to prepare the taxes for some families if they own rental property or their own business, for example," Morales said. "It is best to call our tax center, then we can talk about specifics and make sure we can help with the filing."

The staff of the tax center encourages families to have a few discussions before their filing to help ease the preparation process.

"We'll have Soldiers filing their taxes for the first time this year and we need for them to find out if their parents will claim them as dependents before we do their taxes," Wolrich said. "Also, if there is a married couple filing jointly, both of them need to come for the appointment, which should take about an hour. We are open until 7 p.m. so that we can help after regular business hours."

There will be eight Soldiers available to prepare taxes on a walk-in basis at the tax center every weekday from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. The center will also be open on select Saturdays during the tax season.

"This tax center is just a great example of how Soldiers help Soldiers here on post," Wolrich said. "Our goal is to help as many people as possible while we are here."

For more information, call 751-JTAX (751-5829).

Page last updated Thu January 12th, 2012 at 09:38