By Staff Sgt. Warren W. Wright, Jr., 21st TSC Public AffairsJanuary 31, 2013
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany -- The Kaiserslautern Legal Services Center is officially opening tax assistance centers on Kleber Kaserne and Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Feb. 1.
The tax centers' free services will be available to all service members, retirees, civilian employees, and family members requiring assistance in filing returns. According to Mark Christensen, the chief of client services at the Kaiserslautern Legal Services Center and a native of Cadott, Wis., it's important for eligible individuals to take the time to get their taxes done. "Most taxpayers get refunds, so if you don't file, you might only be hurting yourself."
"Also, if you don't file a return, the (Internal Revenue Service) might do it for you, and they won't apply eligible credits or deductions," added Christensen. "If the IRS does your return for you, and you owe money, they'll garnish your military or civilian pay."
The tax centers, located in building 3210 on Kleber Kaserne and in building 3701 on Landstuhl, will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Mondays through Fridays, excluding U.S. federal holidays.
Appointments are not required; however that option exists in addition to walk-in services.
Customers will need to ensure they bring all of their Form W-2s, Form-1099, social security numbers for all family members, and bank information for direct deposit. The tax centers have no computers for customers to obtain their Form W-2s online.
Individuals with complicated returns will need to provide additional information with their tax documents, and they will be required to utilize the drop-off service.
Complicated returns include: Form 1099B capital gain or loss, rental property, self-employment income, foreign earned income, foreign income tax, tax treaty exclusion, prior year state or federal returns, and Puerto Rico returns.
Drop-off returns will be prepared, and the taxpayer will be notified when the return is completed or if more information is required.
Additionally, the American Forces Network will be airing a call-in show on Feb. 6 and 27 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., for anyone seeking information on tax-related issues.
Late additions to new tax laws this year can affect the speed at which some tax payers can file and receive their returns.
"Because Congress passed laws late in 2012, we cannot (electronically) file returns until after Jan. 30 this year," said Christensen. "The IRS is still finalizing tax laws and forms, so people should be patient about filing and getting their refunds, even though most Soldiers and civilian employees already have their W-2s."
Taxpayers using the tax centers can expect reliable help from well-trained tax professionals at no additional cost to the individual.
"Our folks are trained by the IRS, and then receive an additional week of instruction from experienced Army tax preparers," said Christensen. "If you go to another preparer, or do your return yourself, there is no guarantee you'll get the benefit of the training and experience you will get in our tax centers."
In addition, "You will pay approximately $150 for a simple return if you go to a commercial preparer and more if you have any kind of complicating tax situation," added Christensen. "Our electronic services help taxpayers insure their federal and state returns are prepared quickly and accurately."
For more information, or to speak with a tax specialist, contact the Kleber Tax Center at 483-7688 (0631-411-7688) or the Landstuhl Tax Center at 486-6334 or (06371-86-6334).