Tax Center clients get $31M in refunds

| April 27, 2017 | 0 Comments
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Col. Ian R. Iverson, the staff judge advocate for the 25th Infantry Division and U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii presents a Certificate of Achievement to Sgt. Jay Araos (right), a tax preparer for the Schofield Barracks Tax Center, during an awards ceremony at Sgt. Smith Theater, April 21, 2017. Araos also earned a Combatives Level 1 Certificate. The service members who worked in the tax center during the 2017 season, from Feb. 6 through April 15, were recognized at the ceremony for their efforts. (U.S. Army photo by Kristen Wong, Oahu Publications)

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Col. Ian R. Iverson, the staff judge advocate for the 25th Infantry Division and U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii presents a Certificate of Achievement to Sgt. Jay Araos (right), a tax preparer for the Schofield Barracks Tax Center, during an awards ceremony at Sgt. Smith Theater, April 21, 2017. Araos also earned a Combatives Level 1 Certificate. The service members who worked in the tax center during the 2017 season, from Feb. 6 through April 15, were recognized at the ceremony for their efforts. (U.S. Army photo by Kristen Wong, Oahu Publications)

Kristen Wong
Contributing Writer

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — The Schofield Barracks Tax Center staff held an awards ceremony at the Sgt. Smith Theater to officially mark the closing of the center this year and recognize its personnel, April 21.

The 31 Soldiers who worked in the tax center received Army Achievement Medals and Certificates of Achievement for their efforts. Additionally, 10 Soldiers were recognized for earning their Combatives Level 1 Certificate.

The active duty tax preparers assisted approximately 1,000 military ID cardholders with their taxes this year as it opened Feb. 6 and closed April 15. Tax center patrons saved nearly $300,000 in tax preparation fees, and they received nearly $31 million in refunds. The average refund among the tax center’s clientele was $3,427.

Col. Ian R. Iverson, the staff judge advocate for 25th Infantry Division and U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii, offered a few remarks during the ceremony. He praised the Soldiers for supporting tax center patrons and noted that the post tax program was at one point in history nonexistent.

Before the tax center became a staple, attorneys on post would treat tax preparation as just another legal appointment. The tax center was first established on post during the 1980s, operating under the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program.

The IRS’s VITA Program offers tax assistance to eligible people, free of charge. Eligible people include the disabled, people limited in their knowledge of the English language and those whose income is $54,000 or less a year.

The Soldiers trained in tax preparation for three weeks. Each preparer was certified by IRS personnel and trained by Pentagon tax experts. They learned about tax law, state tax issues and how to use TaxSlayer software.

It was rewarding to lead such a great group of Soldiers; their hard work and dedication is unmatched,” said Capt. Courtney Planté, the 2017 tax center officer in charge. “Any group is only as good as its individuals. My Soldiers made my job easy. I am proud to have worked with and learned from every one of them.”

The tax center had its share of challenges throughout the season, from complicated taxes, to problems with the new tax program and power outages. In addition, the staff learned from their experience.

First, Planté said the staff found it beneficial to have Soldiers split into two shifts. Second, she said it was efficient to accept both walk-ins and appointments.

If you have tax issues during the rest of the year, visit Bldg. 2037, at 278 Aleshire Ave. Depending on how complex the inquiry is, the Legal Office may be able to help.

 

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