The countdown to April 15: Another year, another return
January 16, 2008
RAF MILDENHALL — Most airmen are banking on a tax refund this year, but some won’t be so lucky and will end up dishing out more dough to the tax man.
Whatever the case, U.S. bases across the United Kingdom are opening up tax centers to make the season easier for all. And for those losing money, the centers’ free service will come in handy.
Deborah Calisa, coordinating manager at RAF Mildenhall’s tax center, estimates that off-base tax agencies, such as H&R Block, can charge airmen up to $200 for just a basic tax return.
“These offices can do the same thing for free,” the Fort Walton Beach, Fla., native said of on-base tax centers.
Roughly 1,500 customers were assisted by Mildenhall’s center last year. About 25 tax preparers will be handling the customer flow this year after they get trained up by the Internal Revenue Service this week, she said.
The center, which has moved to Building 544, will run by appointment only. However, walk-in customers will be allowed to drop off paperwork for tax returns. Once finished, customers can pick up their paperwork, Calisa said.
“They can leave their paperwork and we’ll call them when we’re done with it,” she said of the time-saving tactic that hopefully will alleviate congestion at the center.
Only customers with basic tax returns (a W-2 form and maybe a bank interest statement) will be allowed to do this, she said.
The method could become popular once the center’s appointments start to fill up. By mid-February, all appointments at the center probably will be booked through March, she said.
“Appointments are going to be hard to get,” Calisa said. “That’s the trend for this base.”
The turnaround for tax refunds tends to be seven to 14 days, she added.
For a smooth process, Calisa advises customers to have all of their banking information (routing and account numbers) with them.
In the past, she also has seen issues with people not providing accurate contact information and invalid Social Security numbers. An incorrect Social Security number could result in a rejected tax return, she said.
“Having all of your information is a big, big plus,” she said.
Tax helpMilitary tax centers in the U.K.:
Open date: Feb. 4Hours: Tuesday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Mondays, 1-4 p.m.Location: Building 544Phone: Unknown by deadlineRAF Lakenheath
Open date: Feb. 23Hours: Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Wednesdays, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.Location: Building 1082 (legal office)Phone: 226-1807RAF Alconbury
Open date: Unknown by deadlineHours: By appointment onlyLocation: Building 582 (legal office)Phone: 268-3535RAF Menwith Hill
Open date: Feb. 4Hours: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.Location: Room 20, Building 28Phone: 262-7997RAF Croughton
Open date: Feb. 11Hours: By appointment onlyLocation: Building 202Phone: 236-8652RAF Fairford
Open date: Feb. 4Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.Location: Building 1222Phone: 247-4505W-2 formsTo 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 Tuesday.
Other documentsBefore you head to the tax center, be sure to have all the required bits and pieces. When not sure about a document, bring it just in case. Here’s a list of essential items from the 48th Fighter Wing legal office:
2007 federal and 2007 state tax returnsPersonal data:
Social Security numbers for all family membersChild-care provider tax IDs or SSNsEmployment and income data:
W-2 formsPartnership and trust incomePensions and annuitiesState and local income tax refundHomeowner/renter data:
Residential address(es)Mortgage interest: Form 1098Sale of your home or real estate: Form 1099-SSecond mortgage interest paidReal estate taxes paidRent paid during tax yearFinancial assets and liabilities:
Interest income statements: Forms 1099-INT and 1099-OIDDividend income statements: Form 1099-DNProceeds from broker transactions: Form 1099-BRefunds and unemployment compensation: Form 1099-GMiscellaneous income: Form 1099-MISCRetirement plan distribution: Form 1099-RStudent loan interest paidEarly withdrawal penalties on time depositsExpenses:
Gifts to charity (receipts for single donations of $250 or more)Expenses not reimbursed for volunteer workInvestment, education and child-care expensesDeduction documents:
Estimated tax vouchers for the current tax yearIRA, Keogh and other retirement contributionsMedical expensesCasualty or theft lossesOther miscellaneous deductions
For additional help and to download forms, go to the Internal Revenue Service Web site at www.irs.gov.