“This is a great facility,” said Maj. Gen. Michael S. Linnington, commander, Joint Task Force-National Capital Region and the Military District of Washington.
Linnington and other MDW officials toured the facility and talked with the Soldiers and civilians who are manning it following the ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday. The JBM-HH tax center has provided free tax services to servicemembers, Family members and retirees in the NCR for 17 years. Command Sgt. Major Earlene Y. Lavender said last year was one of the most successful in the history of the program.
“This effort saved 841 clients over $300,000 in preparation fees and resulted in over $2 million in tax refunds for the 2011 tax year,” she said.
The tax center is manned by 12 active duty Soldiers and a group of civilian volunteers. The Soldiers received a week of IRS and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance training with their Marine counterparts at Fort Belvoir.
“They were required to pass four exams to become certified preparers,” explained Lavender. “Our Soldiers have taken on this mission with enthusiasm and have demonstrated their ability to work as a team.”
Capt. Michael Colucci, officer in charge of the JBM-HH tax center, said he has been consistently impressed by the Soldiers’ work ethic and dedication.
“Over the course of the month of January, through countless hours of training, I watched these Soldiers grow from people that have never done their own tax returns before to the consummate professionals that are ready to prepare taxes that are standing before you today,” he said.
Prior to the tax center’s grand opening, the Soldiers prepared taxes for a number of their peers from the Honor Guard, Lavender continued.
“They have spent significant time and effort learning the information necessary to best serve this community and are excited about the opportunity to help you,” she stressed.
Filers should bring a military ID card, a cancelled or voided check, all W-2s, 1099s and 1098 forms, social security numbers for all Family members, documentation from day care providers, documents supporting all deductions and credits, a copy of their 2011 state and federal returns and power of attorney paperwork, said Sgt. 1st Class Sherra Jackson, a tax preparer at the center.
The Military District of Washington Office of the Staff Judge Advocate is responsible for providing tax preparation services to JBM-HH through the center.
“We’re ready to go,” said tax preparer Master Sgt. Maria De La Cerda.
Colucci also made a prediction about the tax center’s success.
“I believe that not only are we going to have a successful tax season this year, but that we are in a position to break records and to do more returns and to save more money for the Fort Myer community than ever before,” he said.
The JBM-HH tax center is open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. For more information about the center, call 703-696-1040.