For the past eight years, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program has taken place aboard Naval Air Station Lemoore (NASL), to train volunteers to assist military families in filing their federal and state income tax returns free of charge.
This year’s volunteers included active duty members, spouses of active duty family members and retirees who received free training from both Internal Revenue Service and California Franchise Tax Board trained instructors. Over the 90-hour course, all of the volunteers were certified in all five levels of certification by the IRS: Standards of Conduct, Intake & Interview Quality Review, Basic, Advanced and Military.
“The VITA program is an exciting program to assist our military community in filing accurate returns,” said volunteer Stefie Shen. “I am excited to assist my community while gaining valuable experience in my field of study. I hope this experience will improve my resume while helping others.”
According to site coordinator, Jim Maciel, NASL’s VITA Tax Center processed over 600 returns, resulting in $972,000 in refunds for military families last year. This year they are hoping to process 800 returns, with an anticipated $1.2 million in refunds.
“We are a self-service center,” said Maciel. “We assist clients in the process of completing and submitting their returns online. A lot of people run into problems with state refunds and shortchange themselves, so we do a lot of amended returns, too.”
The Tax Center is located at the NASL Legal Office at 730 Enterprise Blvd. and will be open from Tuesday, Jan. 23, through Tuesday, Apr. 17. Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to noon and 1-4 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 9 a.m. to noon on Fridays. Hours are subject to change if the Legal Office is closed. No appointments are necessary. The officer-in-charge is LCDR Matthew Bailey.
Patrons must bring necessary documents in order to file, including valid photo I.D., Social Security cards for all family members, copies of their previous year’s return, all sources of income and interest statements, as well as any other documents they believe to be pertinent to their return.
Active duty members whose returns involve more than W-2s and interest income, with an Adjusted Gross Income of over $62,000, or with more than one state to file returns in, must set up an account with MilitaryOneSource prior to visiting the VITA Tax Center. The website is http://www.militaryonesource.mil/financial-and-legal/taxes.
For any questions or to schedule a speaker for clubs, groups, or organizations, such as Family Readiness Groups, call 559-707-1601 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The training program for next year’s tax season will take place in December 2018 and January 2019.