FORT BLISS, TEXAS (April 16, 2009) -- The Future Force Integration Directorate Commanding General, Maj, Gen. James L. Terry participated in thanking the Soldiers and civilians of the Fort Bliss Tax Center for a successful 2009 tax season.

Maj. Gen. Terry expressed his enthusiasm over the impressive number of returns that were prepared and applauded the soldiers for being so dedicated to their fellow soldiers and community.

The Fort Bliss Tax Center is a joint mission between Fort Bliss and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) under their Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program and provides free federal and state income tax preparation for active duty and activated reserve component military personnel, retirees, and dependents.

Led by Capt. Rick Mathew, the Fort Bliss tax officer, 13 Soldiers and five civilian volunteers were trained over the past few months to prepare for the upcoming tax season. Many of the Soldiers and volunteers had no prior experience when they arrived and each became certified by the IRS through over 100 hours of training and practice.

The training was then used to prepare more than 3500 Federal and State returns.

They assisted over 5000 soldiers, retirees, and dependents. In all, they saved the fort Bliss Community over $450,000 in tax preparation fees.

They assisted Fort Bliss taxpayers in getting over $5.3 million dollars in refunds.

This was also the first year the tax center implemented online tax software making data security no longer an issue allowing software and tax updates to be implemented instantly without any downtime for the center.

This season also saw the creation of a mobile tax center to assist the East Bliss portion of base, by bringing the services to the soldiers who might have a difficult time getting to main side tax office.

During the event, representatives from the IRS were on hand to thank the soldiers who volunteered at the tax center and to remind the community that the IRS considers the Fort Bliss Tax Center a model facility for quality and accuracy.