FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- While taxes remain one of life's certainties, the necessity for military members to pay to figure out how much they will get back from or how much they owe Uncle Sam is not, thanks to a free service offered by the Fort Rucker Office of the Staff Judge Advocate.

The Fort Rucker Tax Center is set to open Jan. 22 in Bldg. 5700, Rm. 371F, with the goal of providing professional-level federal and state preparation and filing services for no fee to active duty and retired military, said Tod Clayton, Fort Rucker Tax Center coordinator.

People need to make an appointment to receive the service and can do so by visiting the center or calling 255-2937 or 255-2938, Clayton said. The services are only available to active-duty military, retired military, medically retired military or members of the reserve components on active orders and their family members.

"People can start calling to make an appointment Jan. 22, but Jan. 22-25 is set aside for seeing single Soldiers only," he said. "If you call to get an appointment and you're not a single Soldier, that appointment will be for after Jan. 25. And when people call, they can ask for an appointment for whenever they want it -- all the way until we close April 19. If we have an opening, we'll give it to them.

"We tend to get a lot of appointment requests early on, so if you have trouble getting through, just keep trying," Clayton added.

The office will be open Mondays-Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. People need to bring their military ID card, Social Security cards, previous year's return and all documentation they think they might need to get their taxes done, he said.

But there are some things the folks at the tax center will not help with, such as businesses or more than one rental property -- they will also only do a maximum of two state tax returns per person, Clayton said.

"Any of those criteria, or if a person is a day trader, or trading a lot of stocks and dividends, we just don't have the resources to put in all the data they generate," he added. "I'd have to send you to an outside source for assistance."

People will notice some significant changes when filing their taxes for 2018, including the Internal Revenue Service getting rid of the 1040EZ and 1040A forms -- all taxes are done on the 1040, with its Schedules 1-6, according to Clayton.

Additionally, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act nearly doubled standard deductions, according to IRS Publication 5307 available at https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p5307.pdf, which also explains many other changes that affect people's 2018 taxes.

The standard deduction is a dollar amount that reduces the amount of income on which people are taxed and varies according to their filing status. This year, the standard deduction for each filing status is single, $12,000; married filing jointly or qualifying widower, $24,000; married filing separately, $12,000; and head of household, $18,000. The amounts are higher when filers or their spouses are blind or over age 65, according to the IRS.

The Fort Rucker Tax Center will host its ribbon cutting ceremony Jan. 25 at 1 p.m. in front of its office. For more information on the center, call 255-2937 or 255-2938.