By Guv CallahanJanuary 14, 2016
JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. - It's that time of year again! The Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Consolidated Tax Center will open Jan. 19, providing free individual income tax preparation and e-filing services to service members, retirees and their families.
Located in Building 205 at 101 Bloxon Street on the Fort Myer portion of the joint base, the consolidated tax center made its debut in 2015, combining the Fort Myer and Henderson Hall tax centers into one location.
The consolidated tax center will be staffed by Soldiers, Marines and civilian volunteers, all of whom are IRS-trained and certified tax preparers, said Philip Jussel, senior paralegal for Joint Force Headquarters-National Capital Region and the Military District of Washington.
The facility will provide cost-free federal and state income tax return preparation and e-filing for military personnel, their families and other eligible clients throughout the 2015 tax season. Tax center staffers will also help with itemized deductions and certain self-employment income and expenses.
Change in services
Jussel noted that the tax center will not be able to provide some services that it did last year.
"Across DoD, we are not going to be able to do some returns that we did last year," he said.
During the 2016 tax season, only individual tax returns, not business tax returns, can be prepared, according to Jussel. This is because regulations prohibit government assistance to most business interests, and because the IRS considers tax preparation part of the cost of running a business.
Exceptions will be made for child care providers operating on-post or on-base child care facilities, he said.
Retired reservists who are not yet drawing their pensions, or 'gray area' retirees, will also be ineligible for services this year, according to Jussel. Reserve component Service Members who are not on active duty for more than 29 days will not be able to use the tax center, and activated reserve members will need to bring a copy of their active duty orders.
Additionally, because of changes in tax law, people earning more than $300,000 per year are not eligible and should seek services with other tax preparers, Jussel said, recommending that those taxpayers seek the services of a full-time tax professional.
Jussel stressed that if a customer is active-duty, then the tax center will do their tax returns no matter what.
"I want to make sure people understand, if they're active duty, it doesn't matter how much money they make-we'll take care of them," he said.
But high-ranking customers with high incomes and complex returns will be better served with a financial planner, according to Jussel.
"They're making so much money, that when we start doing their tax returns, they start losing a lot of benefits," Jussel said. "We're doing simple tax returns, and if you're making over $250,000, you have a complex tax return. We don't want to do returns for people and have them not get their maximum benefit. Those folks need to go see a financial planner."
New laws, new requirements
Finally, Jussel said that the Affordable Care Act could impact some taxpayers this year, but not many.
The ACA requires every American to have "minimal essential coverage," he said. Active duty service members are covered through the military; most family members and retirees are covered by Tricare; and many other retirees are covered by either Medicare of Medicaid.
"The people who may not qualify are family members who got married during the year and weren't covered by Tricare all year," Jussel said. "Those are not common, but we are very good at dealing with their Affordable Care Act Issues."
The tax center will be open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Tuesday and Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m beginning Jan. 19. A grand opening ceremony is scheduled for Jan. 20.
In the event of inclement weather, customers should consult the JBM-HH CTC webpage page at http://go.usa.gov/cnu9J, the JBM-HH Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MYERTAXCENTER or the OPM weather page at www.opm.gov/status. CTC clients will be seen on a walk-in basis. Check the CTC Facebook page for updates. The last walk-in will be taken 30 minutes before closing at 4 p.m.
Based on IRS Publications 4491 and 4012, the following financial situations are out of the Tax Center's scope, and clients should seek civilian professional tax assistance.
• Income and expenses related to paid household employees
• Medicare tax
• Business or self-employment (excluding on-post child care providers)
• Cost of goods sold
• Expenses for employees or 1099
• Use of home as a business
• Actual vehicle expenses costs - not mileage
• Entity issues - partnerships, s corporations, LLCs
• Capital gains and losses issues
• Inherited property from a person who died before 2010 unless the taxpayer knows the basis
• Taxable sale other than stock, mutual funds or house
• Sale of rental home including depreciation issues
• Basis issues related to gifts, inheritances not using FMW
• Retirement income from SIMPLE or SEP IRAs
• Retirement IRA rollovers which are not tax free
• Retirement ROTH IRAs with excess contributions
• Any partnership schedule or form K-!
• Self-employment insurance deductions
• Foreign income or foreign tax credits over $300
• Taxpayers who require a Form 1116
For more information on the JBM-HH CTC, call 703-696-1040 or post your questions on the JBM-HH CTC Facebook page.
Pentagram Staff Writer Guv Callahan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.