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TAX TIME - Be prepared for your tax appointment

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The Fort Knox Tax Center is now fully operational and electronically preparing and filing taxes at no cost to taxpayers.

To date, the Tax Center has saved the Fort Knox Community over $2,300 in preparation fees while generating over $517,000 in refunds after less than two weeks of operation. However, that number only represents a fraction of the savings for the people who will ultimately use the tax center’s services. Most of the Fort Knox community has yet to file their taxes.

It is important to be prepared when you arrive for your appointment. The IRS requires our site to maintain a copy of client records to retain our certification as a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance service. Therefore, supporting identification and other records are a necessary part of preparing your taxes and cannot be waived.

What documents will you need to bring?

First, you will need a military ID, retired ID or dependent ID to verify eligibility for services. Next, IRS VITA rules require Social Security cards, or a copy, for all individuals on the tax return — you, your spouse, your children, and anyone else you are claiming as a dependent. If any of these people do not have their Social Security cards, a replacement may be obtained by visiting your local Social Security Administration office. They can mail you a replacement card in just a couple of days. If you or any of your dependents do not have a Social Security number, they must have a document showing their Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). Please note that due to VITA rules, having your return prepared by the Tax Center in a previous year does not exempt you from providing IDs and Social Security cards this year.

Finally, we need all relevant tax documents you have for this year, including W2s, 1099s, 1098s, and receipts or other documentation of charitable donations, certain unreimbursed business expenses, travel mileage of reservists, etc. Be especially mindful of any interest statements from financial institutions you receive (1099-INT); forgetting to include interest income — even just a few dollars’ worth — is one of the most common reasons taxpayers must amend their taxes. Additionally, if you have any income from sources for which you did not receive a tax form, please be sure you calculate these amounts (income, expenses, mileage, etc.) and bring us your written records. It is your money, and no one will know more about your finances and records than you. Please be sure to bring all the documentation you can, even if you are unsure of whether or not something is relevant.

If you do not have documentation, you should contact the entity responsible for that form. For example, if your W2 is not showing up on MyPay, you need to contact DFAS. If you need a copy of a 1098-T, it is probably posted on your school’s website if you did not receive one in the mail. If you did not receive a 1099 for interest, contact the financial institution. We need these forms to ensure your taxes are done properly and you get all the money you are entitled to.

Another common issue for taxpayers is having the correct power of attorney (POA). For anyone who is filing a joint tax return on behalf of their spouse, you must have a POA from your spouse that specifically authorizes you to prepare this year’s tax returns. Make sure that the POA specifies the power to file 2017 taxes. The Tax Center does not accept the POA that is available on the IRS’s website because it does not have a place to be notarized. The Tax Center can only accept notarized POAs. This policy is in place to prevent fraud and protect taxpayers. Check your POA to make sure it is sufficient. If you need a new POA, the Legal Assistance Office offers them on a walk-in basis. It should be noted that the individual giving the power to sign on their behalf must be present to sign the POA at the time of issuance.

We encourage all Soldiers who might be considering other preparation services to give us a try. Feel free to stop by Pike Hall, Bldg. 1310, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Fridays, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursdays.

If you have any questions about necessary identification, tax records or powers of attorney, feel free to call the tax center at (502) 624-0044. n