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Peterson Tax Center to open, provide free tax assistance

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – The Peterson Air Force Base Tax Center in Colorado will open Feb. 12 and run through mid-April to provide assistance with tax preparation for Airmen, retirees and civilians. The Tax Center is run by volunteers, who are required to complete three days of training and take an exam to be certified. (Courtesy photo)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- After the New Year, tax season starts to roll around and everyone gathers their documents to file their taxes in hopes of receiving a large return.

For Airmen, retirees or anyone on base unsure of how to get the largest return on their refund this year, there is a place to assist them before they file.

The Peterson Air Force Base Tax Center in Colorado, which opens Feb. 12 and runs through mid-April, will be one of the only Air Force bases in Colorado Springs to offer free tax assistance to active duty, retirees and civilians, according to Capt. Kevin Mitchell, 21st Space Wing Judge Advocate Office chief of civil law.

“We are trying to focus on newer Airmen,” Mitchell said. “It might be their first time leaving the house, it might be their first tax return. We want to make sure they have the opportunity to get help and not get lost in the process. They’re already making a big life change by joining the military.”

In the 2016 tax season, the Tax Center saved Airmen about $25,000 in filing fees and helped reclaim $380,000 in refunds, Mitchell said.

When the center opens, Airmen, retirees and civilians can schedule an appointment, and can ask what documents they need to prepare before meeting with a volunteer to help speed up the process, Mitchell said.

If enough people volunteer to assist the Tax Center, there will also be a self-serve kiosk, but this and the number of appointments available is dependent on how many people volunteer, said Mitchell.

“One thing we want to make sure people at Peterson AFB understand is that this program relies on volunteers. The more people we have volunteering, the more people we can serve,” Mitchell said.

Each volunteer is required to complete three days of mandatory training at The Club at Peterson AFB and pass a certification test.

Volunteer training will be Jan. 30 to Feb. 1, and volunteers can be active duty, dependents, retirees or civilians. To sign up for training, volunteers can contact Mitchell or Capt. Jacqueline Morley, 21st Space Wing Judge Advocate Office chief of legal assistance, at 719-556-4871.

For more helpful information on filing taxes, visit militaryonesource.mil, irs.gov or mypay.dfas.mil/mypay.

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