JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas --
This year, four tax assistance centers will be available at Joint Base San Antonio locations to provide free tax preparation and e-filing of federal and state income tax returns for eligible military taxpayers and family members. Services will be available for military retirees on a limited basis.
In 2016, JBSA on-base tax assistance programs assisted over 1500 military retirees as part of the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, or VITA. This year, on-base VITA centers will not be able to help all military retirees.
“As the number of people available to volunteer to prepare taxes has declined, we have had to re-focus our assistance on our junior active duty members, their family members and the family members of our service members who are deployed. We must focus on those with military specific tax issues and questions,” said Capt Vincent Sayegh, Chief of Civil Law at the 502nd Air Base Wing Office of the Staff Judge Advocate.
“Appointments not filled by our active duty members and their family members will be made available to military retirees,” said Sayegh, noting that there are many off-base VITA tax centers in the community that are available for military retirees earning $60,000 or less per year.
JBSA-Lackland and JBSA-Randolph tax centers will open Jan. 30 while the JBSA-Fort Sam Houston and San Antonio Military Medical Center, or SAMMC, tax centers will open Jan. 31. All tax centers will be open through April 18.
The tax centers provide free tax preparation, electronic filing and tax form distribution for federal and state tax returns. One-on-one assistance is available to those who make appointments, but walk-ins might still have access to workstations and volunteers to help in answering questions they may have.
At JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, there will be two tax center locations, both of which will open on Jan. 31, but start taking appointments Jan. 23. The first is located at the Sam Houston Community Center Java Café, 1395 Chaffee Road, while the second is located at SAMMC, Room 119-11 on the first floor.
Hours at both locations are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Active duty members, their family members and military retirees are eligible at both locations. For appointments at either location, call 295-1040.
These services are not available for people with business income or losses (with the exception of family child care providers) or who have more than two rental properties.
The JBSA-Randolph tax center, located next to the Legal Assistance Center in building 202, 10711 W. 2nd St., is open Mondays through Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The center is closed on Fridays.
Service members and retirees can begin scheduling appointments Jan. 23, by calling 652-1040. The center will be open to active duty members and family members, but services are not available for retirees with business income or losses or who have rental properties and those eligible retirees will be accepted on a space-available basis.
The JBSA-Lackland tax center is located in building 6629, located at the intersection of Hughes Avenue and Gentile Street. Due to a limited number of volunteer tax preparers, appointments will only be available for basic returns, with no business income or losses and no rental income, for: enlisted members in the grade of E-6 and below and their families; officers in the grade of O-2 and below and their families; families of all deployed servicemembers; and retirees with earned income under $65,000.
The tax center will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays and from 12:30-4:30 p.m. Wednesdays. Appointments will be taken beginning Jan. 25 by calling 671-1001.
Service members must bring all necessary documents, including last year’s tax return, a cancelled check for direct deposit, a military identification card and a Social Security card for each payer and dependent to the appointment. The tax centers will not be using the same software as in previous years so filers will not have access to previous years’ returns or information at the tax center.
To receive assistance at any of the JBSA Tax Centers, bring your Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, and your Form 1095, which is required under the Affordable Care Act. These documents are available through myPay. If applicable to your financial situation, you must also bring the following:
December 2016 Leave and Earnings Statement
Form 1099-INT or Form 1099-DIV to report any interest or dividends you received as income in 2016
Form 1098 to report payment of mortgage interest and property taxes, if any
Form 1099-B for stock sales in 2016 together with your cost basis for capital gain or loss calculations
Form 1099-R to report any distributions from an IRA or 401k you’ve received in 2016
Form SSA-1099 to report any Social Security benefits received in 2016
If you’ve already received a 2016 state tax refund, you may need to report it as income.
Form 1099-MISC if you have self-employment or miscellaneous income, outside of your regular job
Remember to bring these documents, otherwise your tax preparer will not be able to help you. Tax center personnel will review your documents during scheduled appointments and help you complete your tax return.
In accordance with Internal Revenue Service regulations, the tax centers are limited to preparing simple tax returns during one-on-one consultations. The tax center is not equipped to prepare complex tax returns.
Members who are married, or filing jointly, will both need to attend the appointment, unless there is a power of attorney.
Customers are reminded to arrange for child care during the appointment.
There are also many other services available – many of them free – that make filing easy.
Military OneSource (http://www.MilitaryOneSource.mil or call 800-342-9647) provides access to free tax preparation software with on-call assistance from tax professionals. These services are available to all active duty members, as well as Guard/Reserve members and family members beginning Monday, Jan. 16.
The City of San Antonio also has Volunteer Income Tax Assistance locations for anyone with income below $60,000. Visit http://www.vitasa.org for more information.