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Peterson tax center opening soon

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- As the Benjamin Franklin quote goes, "the only things for certain in this world are death and taxes". While the quote may be less than positive, the base tax center is readying to help Team Pete members make the best of the annual process.

The 21st Space Wing Judge Advocate Office has trained their 2016 volunteer income tax assistance team members and will open the tax center doors Feb. 1 for junior enlisted and Feb. 16 for all others.

"All of our VITA members have to be certified through the IRS," said Kellie Lindemann, 21 SW/JA. "We conducted that training for our volunteers here to get them ready for the 2016 filing season."

The tax center is open to those who regularly have access to on-base legal services, primarily active duty, retirees and dependents. However in order to ensure the service is available for its primary audience, junior Airmen, there are income gaps: single filers with an annual income of less than $65,000 and married, filing jointly with an income less than $100,000. Additionally, filers may only have one rental property and no small businesses.

"Our program is run by volunteers; the more complex returns are beyond the scope of the program and the provided training," said Lindemann. "You want the person preparing your return to be comfortable and knowledgeable, if they haven't processed a return with a rental property before then call the tax center and we'll match you with someone who has the experience."

Most forms required to file are available now via myPay, such as the W-2. This year myPay will also generate the required Affordable Care Act health insurance documentation, the IRS form 1095, by the end of the month according to the site.

"Last year you had to report that you had health insurance, however now they have the standardized documentation to track it," said Lindemann. "Other changes for this filing year include increases in IRA deduction limits and standard deduction increases--they typically go up each year with inflation."

Last year the tax center saved community members $170,401 in return filing fees, which average out to $334 per client.

"The basic return with standard deductions is probably closer to $100, while those filing with investments and itemized deductions are on the higher end," said Lindemann.

The tax center is open through April 8. Due to a Washington D.C. area holiday, filers have until April 18 to process their returns this year. Members can call 556-9248 to make an appointment or check out their website at http://www.peterson.af.mil/units/21stspacewingstaffjudgeadvocate.asp for more information.

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