Online program will allow tax preparers to file returns from remote locations
January 17, 2007
Tax season. Those two words can instill dismay in almost anyone. It usually means digging through mounds of paperwork or trying to decipher a seemingly endless amount of numbers.
Don’t fret too much about it, though, because local tax centers are opening soon to help airmen prepare their tax returns and alleviate confusion. The biggest benefit is that they provide the service for free.
“Tax season is not something to get worried over,” said Tech. Sgt. Cheryl White, noncommissioned officer-in-charge of the RAF Lakenheath tax center.
White, 35, from Newport News, Va., said that military tax centers are an alternative to other tax services, such as H&R Block, that can charge taxpayers around $40 to file tax returns.
The Lakenheath tax center helped more than 3,100 taxpayers last year, she said.
This year, the tax center will use an online version of the TaxWise software program, which will make the tax return process even easier.
Other tax centers in the U.K. plan to do the same. The online program will allow squadron-level tax preparers to file tax returns at remote locations, like an office at the squadron, instead of forcing airmen to crowd into the tax center, she said.
Other benefits of the online program are that it can be accessed at any time, and taxpayers will be able to deposit refunds in three different types of personal accounts, rather than just one as before. If direct deposit is chosen, refunds can be seen in about a week, White said.
There will be about 35 to 40 tax preparers supporting customers at Lakenheath. Tax preparers have to attend a four-day beginners’ class or an online course to become certified.
Lakenheath’s team of tax preparers can handle basic tax returns, and preparers with more experience will tackle complex cases, especially those belonging to owners of rental properties and homes back in the States, White said.
“We’re going to help you, and if we can’t we’re going to put you in contact with someone who can,” she said, referring to paid tax services.
To obtain copies of W-2 forms online, taxpayers can go to the myPay Web site at https://mypay.dfas.mil. All variations of W-2s are available now, except for active-duty Army, Navy and Air Force servicemembers, which will be available on Monday.
Tax returns2006 federal and 2006 state tax returns
Social Security numbers for all family members
Childcare providers tax IDs or SSNs
Employment and income dataW-2 forms
Partnership and trust income
Pensions and annuities
State and local income tax refund
Homeowner/renter dataResidential address(es)
Mortgage interest: Form 1098
Sale of your home or real estate: Form 1099-S
Second mortgage interest paid
Real estate taxes paid
Rent paid during tax year
Financial assets and liabilitiesInterest income statements: Forms 1099-INT and 1099-OID
Dividend income statements: Form 1099-DN
Proceeds from broker transactions: Form 1099-B
Refunds and unemployment compensation: Form 1099-G
Miscellaneous income: Form 1099-MISC
Retirement plan distribution: Form 1099-R
Student loan interest paid
Early withdrawal penalties on time deposits
ExpensesGifts to charity (receipts for single donations of $250 or more)
Un-reimbursed expenses for volunteer work
Investment, education and childcare expenses
Deduction documentsEstimated tax vouchers for the current tax year
IRA, Keogh and other retirement contributions
Casualty or theft losses
Other miscellaneous deductions
For additional help and to download forms, go to the Internal Revenue Service Web site at www.irs.gov.