PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - According to American founding father and kite-flying enthusiast Benjamin Franklin there are only two things that are certain in life: death and taxes.

But the taxes part has just gotten a lot easier for local service members, their families and military retirees.

The Presidio of Monterey Tax Center officially opened its doors for business in its new location with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Jan. 30.

Presidio of Monterey Garrison Commander Col. Joel J. Clark and Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center Commandant Col. Danial D. Pick performed the ribbon-cutting event prior to touring the facilities.

According to tax center supervisor Darwin Strickland, the new location in the Presidio's building 358 has improved privacy with individual offices for seven different work stations and two dedicated waiting rooms.

"The new location is a lot nicer environment," said Strickland. "And it will only get better now that we have a roof over our head to call our own and make improvements on it."

Strickland said the goal for this year is to complete 900 to 1,000 returns for an approximate savings of $300,000 to tax payers who would otherwise have to pay a private firm to do their tax preparation.

Strickland said he also has a goal of achieving $1 million in refunds for his clients, but admits that to achieve this they will have to work every hour of the scheduled 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., five-days a week through April 17.

Assisting the tax center staff are 15 volunteer unit tax advisors who will be rotating through the building two or three times a week as well as directly helping service members at their respective units. The UTAs receive a challenging two-week course of instruction on federal and state tax preparation to qualify them for the task.

The Presidio Tax Center is open now to assist active military, their family members and retirees with preparing and electronically filing their state and federal income taxes throughout the tax season 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. Appointments should be made by calling 831-242-7365.