FORT HOOD, Texas - Tax season is here again and the Soldiers at the tax center are hard at work training to make this tax season run as smooth as possible.
“We want to assure people that they aren’t doing this alone,” said Capt. Chris Garza, Fort Hood Tax Center officer-in-charge.
This year’s 28 tax preparers are certified through the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program. Garza said they had to complete an advanced tax preparation certification, military certification, intake and quality review certification, as well as an ethics and standards certification. After receiving some training through the IRS, the tax preparers received extensive training via Zoom by tax attorneys with Clark Hill Strasburger Law Firm out of San Antonio.
“There’s a little bit of nerves, but everyone has a positive attitude and seems excited to get into it,” Garza added.
He said one of the biggest things they are looking out for this tax season is Economic IMPACT Aid and the Advanced Child Tax Credit.
Garza recommends people bring the statements with them so they can ensure the numbers match the IRS numbers. If the numbers do not match, it could delay the return.
For those who may not know where their statements are located, he added that they can go to the IRS website, www.irs.gov, to find out how much IMPACT Aid and Child Tax Credit was received.
“With the Economic IMPACT payment, if people didn’t receive their payment, we still have the recovery credit,” he added.
The Soldier tax preparers are excited for the opportunity to help people during what is normally considered a stressful time period, while also learning a new skill set.
“I’m working outside the scope of my job to help people,” said Spc. Jallah Kesselee, 53rd Quartermaster Company, 61st Quartermaster Battalion, 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command. “It is an exciting experience for me to be working with different people, different brains, different minds and give back to the community that we are also a part of.”
The tax center here has changed locations this year to better accommodate people. The center’s new location is Bldg. 42004 Legends Way, located on the hill to the west of Howze Auditorium. The entrance can be accessed on the southside of the building, with parking available on the north and south sides.
“The goal is to not have waiting rooms full of people,” Garza explained. “We’ll have people come in with their documents, they go through a screening, we take their documents, the tax payer goes home and we call them back in when it’s time to file.”
Tax services are available to active-duty personnel, families, retirees and National Guardsmen or Reservists on active-duty orders. Some tax services are out of scope. For those with unusual needs, Garza recommends clients call to make sure their taxes can be completed with the FHTC.
Clients need to bring with them a copy of their military identification, social security card for every family member, all income documents, such as W2s, 1099s, interest income from banking, miscellaneous income, child care expense receipts, college 1098-Ts, rental property information, banking information for the refund to be deposited into and a copy of last year’s tax return.
If the Soldier or spouse is unavailable, a power of attorney is required. The POA needs to be very specific, to include the exact purpose and tax year. A POA can be done at the Legal Assistance Office, which is located in Bldg. 13, on 52nd Street.
“This is the perfect opportunity for us to give back to the Soldiers, families and veterans in the community,” Kesselee added.
The Fort Hood Tax Center begins receiving clients Feb. 7. Appointments can be made by calling (254) 287-3809.