TAXES — Fort Knox Tax Center providing new drop-off option for 1040-EZs

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With the start of a new year, tax season is once again upon us. We are excited to announce that construction has just completed on a renovated tax center located in the basement of Pike Hall.

We are also excited to offer a new service this year, a drop-off option for 1040-EZs. Information on this new service will be published around the beginning of the year. As we complete the finishing touches on the tax center, I wanted to relay some essential tips to help ensure that your tax preparation experience goes as smoothly as possible.

You can set yourself up for success by getting organized now. Spend this time gathering your important tax documents and creating a document file. This may include documents such as day care receipts, education expenses, charitable donation receipts, etc. Then, as other important tax documents such as W-2s and 1099s become available, you can add these to your filing system. Investing the time by getting organized now will set you up for success when it’s time to prepare your tax return.

Collecting all of your wage and income documents is essential to successfully preparing your tax return. For Soldiers, this means a W-2 from the Defense Finance and Accouting Services which is available electronically through MyPay early January. The W-2 is the document summarizing your wages for the year. If you have a savings account that pays you interest, you will likely need a 1099-INT. If you have a mutual fund or a stock brokerage account, you will need a 1099-DIV. W-2s and 1099s are typically not available until late January.

It pays to submit a correct tax return the first time. When preparing your taxes if you don’t account for certain income such as income from a second job, you could possibly trigger the IRS to adjust or reject your tax return. Preparing your taxes once is often difficult enough, but doing it twice is worse. An adjusted tax return can result in you having to pay penalties and interest that you would not otherwise have had to pay if the tax return was complete the first time.

Take the time now to create checklists for yourself, for example listing out all jobs held, all sources of retirement payments and all sources of interest or dividend payments. Then as W-2s and 1099s become available, you can match them up with your checklist to ensure you have all the necessary documents.

You can also use your previous year’s tax return to create a checklist. For example, a Form 1040 tax return and the other forms with a 1040, identify the source of income inputs such as 1099s and W-2s used to fill in data on the forms. If you have not had changes in your sources of income, credits, or deductions, last year’s tax return can serve as a road map for the documents you will need this year.

If you are married and filing a joint return, both adults must personally sign the joint tax return. If one person cannot sign, the other person signing needs a valid power of attorney to file the other person’s tax return for that year. If having your taxes prepared by the Fort Knox Tax Center, the preparer will need to see the power of attorney. The power of attorney must list the tax years authorized, as well as be notarized. A power of attorney is available from the Fort Knox Legal Assistance Office. You will also need Social Security cards for all Family members on the tax return, including dependent children.

If you are a military ID card holder (such as a retiree with a blue ID card, active duty service member or a dependent of either) you are eligible for free tax preparation at the Fort Knox Tax Center. There are certain limitations for the Fort Knox Tax Center, for example we cannot do a business tax return.

The Tax Center will begin accepting business Jan. 23 for service members in the grade of E-1 to E-4. The Tax Center will be open to all eligible customers beginning Jan. 30. Individuals can call to begin scheduling appointments starting Jan. 15.

The Tax Center is located in Pike Hall, Bldg. 1310, in the basement, at the corner of Knox Street and Third Avenue. Walk-ins are accepted every day except Saturday, but appointments are preferred. The operating hours and this year’s phone number for the Tax Center will be published in The Gold Standard.

Remember, do yourself a favor by beginning the process now of gathering all your tax documents. n