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Tax center files 1,600-plus returns

Gail Evelyn, tax preparer at the Tax Center, helps CW2 Ralph Hernandez, from Fort Hood, Texas, and his wife, Brittany, with their tax return at the Fort Rucker Tax Center. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Gail Evelyn, tax preparer at the Tax Center, helps CW2 Ralph Hernandez, from Fort Hood, Texas, and his wife, Brittany, with their tax return at the Fort Rucker Tax Center. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Published: April 17, 2014

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (April 17, 2014) -- Tax season has come to a close and the Fort Rucker Tax Center went above and beyond to serve Soldiers, retirees and Family members, but reminds people to prepare year round for taxes.

The tax center completed 1,034 federal returns and 631 state returns, and saved Soldiers $341,800 in tax preparation fees, said Tod Clayton, volunteer income tax coordinator at the center.

In addition, the tax center brought in a total of $2,345,208 back to the Soldiers, retirees and Family members of Fort Rucker from state and federal refunds.

“This season was a success, especially with the smaller staff that we had this year compared to previous years,” said Clayton.

And although the deadline to file taxes has come and gone and the tax center has closed its doors, people can still file amended tax returns throughout the year if they feel that a mistake was made on their return.

“If Soldiers made a mistake on their returns, they should see us to do an amended return, and it’s something we can do year round,” said Clayton. “People just need to make an appointment by calling the legal assistance office, but I won’t be available until mid May.”

Soldiers can file amendments for up to the past three years, and will need to file a 1040X form and provide their past tax returns.

“I’ve had a few people come in and tell me that they forgot to do a few things and I’ve been able to help them with their amended returns,” said the tax coordinator.

Now that the official tax season is over, Clayton said it’s a good time to start preparing for next tax season.

“One of the biggest things is if people are getting a large refund back or owing a lot of money, then they might want to adjust their withholdings – now is the time to do it,” he said. “Also, if there are big changes in your life, such as going from single to married, then you may be getting more money back, and these are things you need to adjust for.

“We’re already into April now, so people will be four months behind if they didn’t get a jump on it from the start,” he continued. “You want to make sure that you keep what you owe, if anything, under $500. If you owe more than that, you’re suppose to do estimated taxes, which requires people to pay out every quarter.”

Clayton said that people need to look at what they’re making in terms of income, look at any life changes, such as having children or getting married, and make the proper adjustments to their tax forms.

If the adjustments aren’t made on their tax forms, individuals could either have too much taken out of their paychecks or not enough, which could result in a large refund or a lot of money owed at the end of the year.

Although Clayton said that a large refund might not seem like a bad thing, it just means it’s less money that people are getting per paycheck, so if its money that they could use now, they need to make the adjustments as soon as possible.

“You just have to ask yourself, ‘Do I want more money every month or do I want more money at the end of the year?’” he said, adding that putting more toward taxes is a good way to save money.

Another thing that Clayton said Soldiers and Families should look for is which state they are claiming residency in when doing their taxes.

“Depending on the state, a lot of states don’t have income tax for military personnel, so if they (have their) residency in a state that doesn’t tax military pay, but currently reside in one that does, they might be able to avoid paying state income tax,” he said, adding that it can be a slippery slope and Soldiers should ask a tax professional first before making those changes.

“It can get complicated, but a Soldier can’t visit Destin and then claim to be a resident of Florida,” said Clayton. “They need to be able to establish residency in that state by providing a local address or being registered to vote in that state.”

When in doubt, always ask, he added.

For more information, call 255-3482.

This article was originally published at http://www.army.mil/article/124281/

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