Service members can receive help filing income tax returns

(Via Ho’okele News)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Edward Lim, 324th Intelligence Squadron linguist, assists U.S. Navy Cryptologic Technician (Interpreter) 3rd Class Mary Chamber, Navy Information Operations Center, as she files her 2013 income taxes Feb. 19 at the tax center at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Edward Lim, 324th Intelligence Squadron linguist, assists U.S. Navy Cryptologic Technician (Interpreter) 3rd Class Mary Chamber, Navy Information Operations Center, as she files her 2013 income taxes Feb. 19 at the tax center at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

Story and photo by Master Sgt. Jerome S. Tayborn

15th Wing Public Affairs

As of Jan. 31, active-duty, Reservists, family members and retirees can now have their 2013 income taxes prepared using the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam self-service tax center.

The tax service is free of charge and runs through the Internal Revenue Service’s deadline for tax return submissions April 15. Eligible reservists must be on active status and retirees’ annual income must not exceed $58,000.

Last year more than 670 federal returns were filed by the JBPHH tax center.

The walk-in only and self-service process allows customers to electronically file their 2013 income tax returns at their own pace with the help of an on-staff volunteer tax preparer to assist with any questions and guidance.

“If service members have their taxes prepared by a professional business, it could cost anywhere from $200 to $500,” said Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) 1st Class

Dewayne Bell, assigned to Navy Information Operations Center, who is a volunteer tax preparer.

“The average cost to purchase the online software could range from $20 for a basic copy to $80 for a more premium version,” Bell said.

Typically it only takes 30-60 minutes to file a tax return with minimal assistance utilizing the services, unless a member has a more complex tax return.

“Depending on the ease of a return and how quickly the IRS can accept a return, it can be done fairly quickly,” said Bell. “If filing an electronic return, it can take up to 21 days to receive a refund, but here we have seen it take as little as five working days in some cases.”

“We advise service members to bring all your tax papers with you including last year’s return taxes,” said Bell.

“This is my first time utilizing these services, and I think it’s pretty amazing, “said Cryptologic Technician (Interpreter) 3rd Class Mary Chamber, Navy Information Operations Center. “The process was pretty easy, and all of the volunteers here are very helpful and friendly.”

The tax center staff members are volunteers certified through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance office with the IRS and have completed all IRS required exams.

The tax center is located in the Navy College, building 679 at Pearl Harbor. Tax center office hours are from 8:30 a.m. through 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding federal holidays. For more information, call the JBPHH tax center at 473-4112.

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