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VITA: vital service provides unsurpassed installation support

PETERSON AFB, Colo. -- Normally, as March draws to a close, April 15 looms as a harbinger of doom - it's tax time. For some, it means hours upon hours of poring over receipts, statements and forms. For others, it's a tidy refund check being electronically deposited in their account.

Regardless of which category we fall into, there is a group of Team Pete members who make tax season tolerable and move many from the first category into the second.

Thirty seven years ago, the Internal Revenue Service initiated the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program. This year, 46 of our fellow Team Pete members stepped up to serve as VITA representatives. Upon completion of their intensive training, they readied themselves for a busy season.

The amount of time each VITA served their customers varied, but it averaged out to about an hour per return. So more than three days of volunteer work per VITA went into preparing 1,147 returns - that's 124 more than the year before! All told, our VITA team turned out an average of 25 returns per volunteer.

Not only were they entrusted with each of their customers' income, they were privy to financial accounts, investments and Privacy Act information. The VITA team's high standards protected their customers from any number of fraudulent activities, including identity theft.

Any number of commercial entities and accountants can provide tax preparation services, but the well-trained and dedicated VITA team saved their customers $264,835 in fees. Their services yielded nearly $2 million in refunds to their fellow Team Pete members.

For those of you who used these services, I'm sure you'll agree the VITA Program is one of the many venues that this wing employs to provide unsurpassed installation support. For those of you who didn't use VITA, maybe next year you will save yourself some time, stress and money by setting an appointment with these consummate professionals.