By LYNSIE DICKERSON
Gold Standard Staff Writer
The Fort Knox Tax Center opened for its 2014 season with a ribbon cutting ceremony Friday.
“It is a great day to be able to open this service to our community,” said Brig. Gen. Maria Gervais, deputy commander of U.S. Army Cadet Command and Fort Knox.
The Tax Center opened Monday for Soldiers and other service members in pay grades of E-1 through E-4, and will open Monday at 1 p.m. for all others.
The Tax Center provides free preparation of income tax returns to Soldiers, military retirees and Family members with military ID cards.
“(This service) is meant to put money back into the pockets of Soldiers by providing them the highest quality tax preparation services, at no cost, to thank them for their service,” said Capt. Michael Winn, Tax Center officer in charge.
Last year, the Tax Center served approximately 4,300 Family members, generated approximately 8,300 tax returns, saved participants about $1 million in tax preparation fees and generated about $10 million in returns, Gervais said.
The group of tax preparers is made up of Soldiers, civilian employees and volunteers. Their training included a 60-hour course taught by the IRS and two additional weeks of training and practice returns.
“(The Fort Knox tax preparers) have gotten every bit as much training, and more, than what you see at off-post sites,” Winn said.
Winn said that the tax preparers have two rules.
“Rule number one: Do it right the first time. Rule number two: If you don’t know something, ask,” Winn said. “With these principles, we are going to provide the highest quality service to our customers.”
Col. Chris Fredrikson, the installation staff judge advocate, addressed the tax preparers during the ceremony.
“Thank you for the support you’re going to be providing to the Fort Knox military community,” he said. “Thank you for your dedication and your support during this trying time of tax season.”
The Tax Center is located in Pike Hall, Bldg. 1310. The center will be open Mondays, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Thursdays, 1-4 p.m. Walk-ins are accepted, and appointments can be made by calling (502) 624-0044.
“This service…is so, so important and so, so comforting at this point in time,” Gervais said.
She explained that tax season can be a stressful time, especially since people just finished the holiday season and are now having to get taxes done, and done properly.
“This is a service that’s provided to our community by volunteers, by our Soldiers, to reduce that burden on everybody. So it is extremely important, and I appreciate the efforts that went into get this organized.”