JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. - With the snip of a ribbon, the tax center on the Fort Myer portion of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall officially opened Feb. 10.

"We're really excited to open the tax center today," said Capt. Aaron Matthes, a legal assistance attorney who serves as the center's officer in charge.

The facility provides cost-free federal and state income tax return preparation and e-filing for military personnel, their families and other eligible clients throughout the 2014 tax season.

The tax center is manned by nine active duty soldiers from JBM-HH and throughout the National Capital Region and seven civilian volunteers who received a week of IRS volunteer income tax assistance training at Fort Belvoir.

"I have a lot of friends that are active duty military," said volunteer tax preparer and attorney Hiliary Gordon. "It's a really great way to give back while I'm looking for full-time work."

Maj. Gen. Jeffrey S. Buchanan, commander of Joint Force Headquarters-National Capital Region and the Military District of Washington, was on hand for the ceremony. Buchanan said this marked the 18th year of operations for the tax center on the joint base.

"It does a tremendous, tremendous service," he said.

Buchanan said more than 1,200 federal returns and more than 1,000 state returns were filed at the center last year. The center also saved service members and their families more than $400,000 in tax preparation fees and returned more than $3.5 million in refunds, according to Buchanan.

"When you hear that, why would you go anywhere else?" the commanding general asked.

Buchanan and his wife began using tax centers located on military installations in 1998, after he had been in the Army for 15 years and have been using them ever since.

JBM-HH commander Col. Fern S. Sumpter, command sergeant major Sgt. Major Earlene Y. Lavender and deputy commander Lt. Col. John Orille were among those who attended the grand opening.

Matthes urged those who will use the tax center to bring in all their documentation - W-2's, social security numbers and a power of attorney if your spouse is not coming with you to the center.

The tax center is located on the second floor of Bldg. 205 and is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the center is open from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Beginning Feb. 8, the center will be open every other Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

"We want people to take advantage and use this facility," said Matthes.

To schedule an appointment, call 703-696-1040.