After volunteers completed extensive certified tax training, the Fort Hood Tax Center celebrated its official opening for the 2021 season on Friday with a ribbon cutting ceremony.
“In a year when everything seemed to be a great unknown, our mission in the tax center is to make a difficult concept accessible,” said Meghan Moore, tax advisor in charge, during the ceremony.
Instead of paying hundreds of dollars in tax preparation fees, FHTC volunteers can prepare returns for soldiers, retirees, and families at no cost. In 2020, the FHTC prepared 2,600 federal and state returns totaling approximately $ 6 million, saving Fort Hood families $ 708,000 in tax preparation fees.
“The advantage of this is that it’s free. There are many companies willing to take soldiers’ money, ”said Col. Jason Wesbrock, Commander of the US Army Garrison – Fort Hood, during the ceremony. “It’s free because we have volunteers and dedicated soldiers like you who help your fellow soldiers.”
Fifteen soldiers are preparing to return this year after completing volunteer training certification. While ordinary tax professionals are certified in basic or advanced tax preparation, Fort Hood tax professionals are also certified in military tax preparation. Military tax preparation has certain problems such as: B. Non-taxable wagering fees that require special attention.
Moore said the training also covered what tax laws look like after everyone is hit by a global pandemic. She said each person’s specific situation can be reflected on their 1040 tax form. The virtual training also looked at the effects of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act on taxes.
“In a year when everything seemed to be a big unknown, our mission at the control center is to make a difficult concept accessible,” she added.
Staff Sgt.Sergio Freitas, 2nd Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cav. Division, one of the FHTC volunteer soldiers, said he had learned more than expected and was looking forward to helping the soldiers. He also encourages soldiers to volunteer with the FHTC in the future because it will help them in the future.
“This is a good learning experience for soldiers regardless of rank,” he added.
Wesbrock told the soldiers that this experience is something they will carry with them for a lifetime. While helping soldiers, they are helping themselves by getting a good understanding of the tax codes.
Before Wesbrock finished, he urged the soldiers to improve their already low error rate of less than 3.2%. This was the Army’s lowest error rate in 2020.
Appointments are recommended to reduce the spread of the virus. Preventive measures have been taken to ensure the safety of tax advisors and clients. Moore said customers are being asked to leave all of their paperwork with the tax advisor, who will call them when they’re done so they can sign the return and get their paperwork back. As COVID reductions increase or decrease throughout the installation, there may be changes to the FHTC throughout the season.
Customers must bring a copy of their military ID, driver’s license, social security card for each family member, all income records such as W2, 1099, banking interest, miscellaneous income, childcare income, college 1098. Ts, rental property information, bank details for repayment, and a copy of last year’s tax return.
If the soldier or spouse is not available, special authorization is required detailing the precise purpose and tax year of the POA. A POA can be carried out in the Legal Aid Office, which is located in the same building on the south side of the FHTC.
Moore said they will not prepare a return in the following circumstances: more than 10 stocks, more than three rentals, and business owners (unless they operate a Fort Hood childcare facility). You will not prepare any government returns this year either.
Appointments can be made by calling 254-288-7995 or 254-287-3294. Appointments are only made for a week. The FHTC is located in the building. 13, on 52nd Street (west of III Corps headquarters). In active status, soldiers, families, retirees and National Guardsmen are available to serve on active duty for 90 days.