Fort Gordon Tax Center Open for Business
Cpl. Mustafa El Hallaouri, a volunteer tax preparer, checks in Shannon Whittington, an Army reservist assigned to the 56th Signal Battalion, at the Fort Gordon Tax Center. The tax preparation service is being offered free of charge. Last year more th... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

The Fort Gordon Tax Center opened its doors Feb. 1. Even before the ribbon cutting ceremony began, customers were lining up for the free services offered by dedicated military and civilian volunteers at the center. As of March 1, the Tax Center has prepared taxes for over 1,000 members of the Fort Gordon community, and the lines are not letting up over a month into the tax season.

Clients sincerely appreciate the free services offered at the Tax Center and find the courteous service well worth any wait time. Commercial vendors "guarantee" to help taxpayers obtain the largest refunds, yet they charge $75 or more to prepare simple forms. The charges could increase to well over $200 if the commercial vendor offers an immediate cash refund. Most taxpayers are unaware they can receive their refund via direct deposit in as little as eight days, free of charge, with assistance from the Tax Center.

The Tax Center Soldiers and civilian volunteers were well trained by a representative from the Internal Revenue Service and completed more than 40 hours of online courses to certify as 2009 tax year preparers. At this stage, each tax preparer has over 100 returns under their belt They are eager to speak with you about the newest tax credits offered to taxpayers, and they will not hesitate to remind you about the numerous deductions available, whether you itemize or not. For example, if you have already filed your taxes online, did you remember to add your new vehicle sales tax and your real estate tax to the standard deduction' Did you also remember to claim credit for that computer you purchased for your daughter to take to college'

Even clients with more complex circumstances are getting answers from the Fort Gordon Tax Center. One civilian volunteer has been preparing taxes for members of the Fort Gordon community for over twenty-five years. Leo Borkowski, a Columbia County deputy sheriff, spends his off duty days volunteering at the Tax Center. Borkowski, known to most clients as "Ski," tells his clients that he prepares taxes to relax. Borkowski's experience speaks for itself. His guidance, up-to-date training, and IRS resources combine to allow the Fort Gordon Tax Center to serve as a free and invaluable service for the community. Bottom line A,AAca,!'- taking time to drop by the Tax Center will save you money.

For those who still need to file their Federal or State taxes this year, the volunteers at the Tax Center will be here until the very end, April 15. Tax Center hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

If you have questions, you can reach a tax preparer by calling 787-1040.