FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- The 2012 tax year so far has proven to be both challenging and rewarding.

On one hand, "fiscal cliff" Congressional debate at the end of 2012 put the Internal Revenue Service in a tailspin, causing several delays and processing complications that continue to reverberate around the country.

On the other hand, however, the Fort Jackson Tax Center has weathered the storm very well. As of Feb. 28, the Tax Center has assisted nearly 750 people and Efiled more than 1,100 returns, both federal and state.

Of these returns, almost 96 percent have been accepted and processed by the IRS and state revenue departments with no problems. These numbers were generated despite the fact that the IRS started processing returns late this year.

However, the 2012 tax year continues to present unique challenges, not to mention new features, that all taxpayers should know about -- regardless of whether they come to the Fort Jackson Tax Center.

The IRS is currently unable to process a number of forms. The forms most commonly used by Tax Center customers that are being delayed are the depreciation worksheets for those who own rental property and energy efficiency credit worksheets. The IRS has started processing education credit worksheets after initial delays.

Additionally, there have been periods during which the IRS has decided to accept certain forms just to put the brakes on those forms a few days later. These delays do not affect a majority of the customers who visit the Fort Jackson Tax Center.

Nonetheless, if a return will require any forms currently on hiatus, Tax Center staff members can still prepare the rest of the return and then file it all when the IRS is ready to receive it.

The following are some major updates for the 2012 tax year:
 The exemption amount is now $3,800 (up from $3,700).
 Standard deductions have risen as well. Generally speaking, the standard deduction for single filers and married taxpayers filing separately is $5,950. For taxpayers filing head of household, it is $8,700. For married taxpayers filing jointly, it is $11,900.
 Many tax benefits that were supposed to expire still exist, including the educator expense deduction and the ability to deduct state/local sales taxes as opposed to state/local income taxes.
 The first-time homebuyer credit is not available. Although this was true last year too, the belief that this credit still exists is a common misconception.
 Taxpayers who make $250,000 a year or more, still need to be aware of the alternative minimum tax. However, Congress recently indexed it permanently to inflation so starting next year it may not be a big issue for you.

These are some of the many updates for tax year 2012. If you have any questions about these changes or other tax matters, or would like to have your tax return prepared and electronically filed, please call the Fort Jackson Tax Center at 751-JTAX (5829) and make an appointment.

The Tax Center is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Although the Tax Center will take walk-ins until 6 p.m., appointments receive priority and a walk-in visit may require a lengthy wait as a result. Advanced returns will require an appointment.

The Tax Center can also open on Saturdays for any training companies who would like to have their Soldiers' returns completed before they finish Basic Combat Training or Advanced Individual Training. Please call ahead of time to make proper arrangements.

The Tax Center is located at 4282 Jackson Blvd. To have your return done, take your military ID, Social Security cards for yourself and any dependents, last year's tax return, your W2, and any other documents that can verify sources of income or significant expenditures.

All returns, whether federal or state, are done free of charge.

Page last updated Fri March 8th, 2013 at 11:07