Tax center
A fully trained and certified tax center worker helps a community member prepare and file his income taxes in this file photo taken before the COVID pandemic. The Fort Rucker Tax Assistance Center reopens Jan. 31. (Photo Credit: Photo by Jim Hughes) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- The Fort Rucker Legal Assistance Office will once again offer free tax preparation and filing services to eligible people when it opens its tax center Jan. 31.

The Fort Rucker Tax Assistance Center will be located in Bldg. 5700, Rm. 371F and its mission will be to provide free professional-level federal and state preparation and filing services to active-duty and retired military and their families within the Fort Rucker community, said Capt. Natalie Gaynier, tax center officer in charge and legal assistance attorney.

People need to make an appointment by calling 255-2937 to receive the service, Tod Clayton, tax center coordinator, said.

“People can start calling to make an appointment Jan. 31. We tend to get a lot of appointment requests early on, so if you have trouble getting through, just keep trying,” Clayton said, adding that people will need to maintain social distancing and wear a mask at their appointments. Additionally, children are not allowed at tax preparation appointments.

The office will be open Mondays-Fridays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Last year, the center prepared and filed almost 1,300 federal and state tax returns, saving local Soldiers, retirees and family members nearly $355,000 in tax preparation fees, according to Clayton. The refunds given to Soldiers and retirees amounted to almost $1.8 million.

The staff at the center will be made up of Fort Rucker Soldiers who will be trained and certified by the Internal Revenue Service’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, Gaynier said.

“We’re excited to be able to save Soldiers money, and to help them build some life skills by learning how to file their taxes correctly,” she said. “Our staff is fully trained and motivated to ensure people get everything they’re entitled to with their refunds, or, if they owe, to ensure they’re not paying anything more than they’re supposed to be paying.”

While the staff at the center will handle the preparation and e-filing, people will need to bring some paperwork with them for the service, Clayton said.

People will need: a valid military ID card; a current driver’s license; Social Security cards; all relevant W-2s (wage and earnings statements, do-it-yourself-moves); 1099-R (pension, retirement, IRA); a copy of their last year’s tax return, if available; a blank or cancelled check with routing and accounting number; a power of attorney, if necessary; Form 1098 (interest statements for tuition, mortgage, student loan, etc.); Form 1099-DIV/INT; and Form 1099-G (gambling winnings, unemployment compensation, etc.).

Additionally, this year, the IRS is sending out Letter 6419 to some people for advanced child tax credit payments, which people will need to bring in if they receive one, Clayton said. “The IRS will also send out Letter 6475, which is on economic impact payment information for anyone who received a stimulus payment. People who receive that should bring it in, as well.”

While the center staff would like to help all eligible people with their tax returns, they aren’t staffed to help certain people within the community, Clayton said.

The center will not prepare returns for people with: state-only returns, more than two state returns, business or independent contractor returns (1099 MISC or 1099 NEC), individual or broker day trading investment returns, cryptocurrency capital gain returns, more than one rental property, farming activity returns and Puerto Rico returns.