RAF MILDENHALL — It’s the most confusing time of year. But don’t sweat it, because the Air Force has someone there to help.

It’s tax time, when receipts from a year’s worth of day care, work supplies and even moving expenses are collected and airmen try to keep as much of what they earn in their wallet as they can.

Patricia Groff is a base tax representative stationed at Mildenhall whose job is to help airmen prepare their taxes. She leads a team of volunteers who last year assisted more than 2,200 airmen and their families.

Her office, room 207 in building 442 (the old post office), is a free alternative to pay services such as H&R Block.

Her advice for making sure taxpayers get as much money as they are due from the government is simple: Keep track of receipts.

“You have to keep meticulous records of what you spent and what the military reimbursed you for,” she said. You also have to know what you can and cannot deduct, she said.

She advises people to have a few items on hand when they arrive to prepare their taxes:

W-2 form.Photo identification.Social Security numbers and birthdates for all children and dependents.Interest and dividend statements.Child-care documentation and receipts.College tuition receipts.Copy of last year’s taxes.Bank routing and account numbers for direct deposit.She also reminds people who may have a spouse working off base on the local economy that some of that money may not be taxable by the U.S. government.

Groff advises people to phone ahead and make an appointment to ensure prompt service. Otherwise, customers will likely have to wait for a specialist to help them.

If a taxpayer is bold enough to go it alone, the Mildenhall Library is holding a tax class Jan. 30 at 7 p.m. The class is only for those with the 10-40 EZ form.

All told, though, if taxpayers plan ahead and come prepared, the specialists usually can help them prepare their taxes in about an hour “unless they have an extremely complicated return,” Groff said.

After that, if a tax return is electronically filed, taxpayers should get their refund within 10 to 14 days.

To make an appointment:

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