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Photo Caption:  Fort Wainwright Tax Center's Team B, noncommissioned officer in charge, Sgt. 1st Class Mark Dowdy (left), U.S. Army Garrison Commander Col. Sidney Zemp, Fort Wainwright Tax Center's Team A, NCOIC, Sgt. 1st Class Toni Rahm and Chief of legal assistance James Wherry cut the ceremonial ribbon Jan. 23, signifying the Fort Wainwright Tax Center is ready for business starting Monday morning, Jan. 27.

January 24, 2014
Capt. Callin Kerr, Fort Wainwright Law Center

FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska - Monday marks the official opening of the Fort Wainwright Tax Center for this year's tax season. The Tax Center provides free tax counseling and e-filing for all active duty military of all branches of service, mobilized Reserve Component members, retirees, and the Family members of these sponsors.

For 22 years, the Fort Wainwright Tax Center has been providing free tax assistance services to the Fort Wainwright community, saving Soldiers, retirees and their families thousands of dollars in tax preparation fees. Last year, the Fort Wainwright Tax Center saved its clients more than $120,000 in fees and helped them recover $1,988,069 in tax refunds. Since the year 2000, the Fort Wainwright Tax Center has saved Soldiers and their families nearly $3,000,000 in tax filing fees.

The Tax Center is operated by active duty Soldiers who are trained by the Internal Revenue Service and are certified tax preparers. Each tax return goes through a quality assurance process where it is meticulously checked and reviewed for accuracy by a certified reviewer before being e-filed. The Fort Wainwright Tax Center has consistently received one of the highest quality return rates as assessed by the Internal Revenue Service's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program. Operation of the Tax Center is overseen by Capt. Callin Kerr, officer-in-charge. Kerr received income tax training at South Texas College of Law and at The Judge Advocate General's School.

There are several changes to the filing process for the 2013 tax year. One important change comes from the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA will no longer be providing social security number printouts in their local offices. This is an effort to prevent identity theft as the documents have no security features and are easily counterfeited and misused. The IRS requires a valid Social Security number or individual taxpayer identification number for each tax return. Therefore, it is important to bring your social security card, and the Social Security cards of your spouse and everyone you claim as a dependent with you to the Tax Center.

In addition to your id card, bring the following documentation to your appointment: Social Security card, bank routing account numbers, W-2 and 1099, Form 1098 for mortgage interest paid, last year's tax return, and if your spouse will not be present or if you are filing on behalf of someone else, a power of attorney (either a special or general POA is acceptable so long as it specifies "taxes"). Please also bring substantiating documents for the following: rental income, Alaska Permanent Fund dividend, income and expenses for child care providers, sale of residence, sale of stocks-mutual funds, amount of charitable contributions, and IRAs. If you have any questions about what documents you should bring, please call the Tax Center.

The Tax Center is located in suite 9, building 1051 Gaffney Road. Walk-ins are welcome but appointments take precedence. The hours of operation are Monday through Wednesday and Friday, 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. and Thursday 1 to 6 p.m. Call 353-2613 today to book your appointment.