FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas Aca,!" The Military Tax Assistance Center celebrated its closing with leaders thanking Soldier and civilian volunteers for their time and contribution to the center during a ceremony April 24 at the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate.

The Tax Assistance Center had two locations staffed with 21 volunteers that consisted of 16 Soldiers, three civilian volunteers and one civilian temporary hire. One center was located at Fort Sam Houston on Liscum Road behind the Staff Judge Advocate's office and the other at Brooke Army Medical Center.

Volunteers had to complete an intense, two-week tax preparation course given by the Internal Revenue Service before staffing the center.

"The biggest difference this year as compared to previous years is that each preparer was capable of preparing the more complex tax returns whereas before it was typical to have one preparer who keys into a particular area. This year we made sure that every preparer was adequately trained to prepare the more difficult, diverse, and complex types of returns, and I think we did a heck of a job," said Capt. David Perrone, Military Tax Assistance Center officer in charge.

"We all did some really fine work here," said Col. Karen Judkins, Staff Judge Advocate. She thanked all the volunteers who pulled double duty in support of the tax center.

"It was a real group effort," said Judkins, noting the help from the Installation Management Command, which funded the temporary-hire position.

"This is the first year IMCOM really stepped up to the plate in terms of putting money in to help us out," said Judkins, "I appreciate it."

Judkins also thanked Maj. Gen. Russell Czerw, commanding officer, Army Medical Department Center and School and Fort Sam Houston, for his support in encouraging units to provide volunteers to the tax centers.

Volunteers provided free tax advice, preparation and electronic filing services to the Fort Sam Houston Community, seeing about 60 people a day and saving Fort Sam Houston servicemembers, Family members and retirees more than $700,000 in tax preparation fees.

"Collectively as a team, with all our Soldiers and civilians working together and giving back to the community and being productive, their efforts saved our community $700,000; that's very impressive," said Czerw.

Combined locations processed 4,057 tax returns this year with approximately 25 percent of those returns processed for Wounded Warriors.

Martha Matthews, Internal Revenue Service tax consultant for military training and guest speaker at the event, said, "I want to congratulate the Fort Sam Houston Legal Office here, for sponsoring the program and for everything that they have done for the Fort Sam Houston community to help their people get their tax returns done free."

During the ceremony, volunteers received various awards for their efforts in making the center a success.