VITA volunteers prepare and electronically file state and federal income taxes at no cost. This service is available to all active duty military, military retirees, and their dependents. The advantage to electronic filing is that any refund can be electronically deposited into most bank accounts in as little as 10 days.
In the Pacific Northwest, VITA will have five sites opening in the Region on 26 January 2011 and will remain open till at least through 18 April 2011 at the following locations with the following operating hours. Note that hours are subject to change based on volunteer availability:
1. Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor: Old Bank Building, BLDG 2007 on Scorpion Drive, 0800-1600, Monday-Friday, closed federal holidays, phone number: (360) 315-8202. NOTE: No disabled access. For disabled access, please use Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton VITA site.
2. Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton: Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC), BLDG 1013, 2nd Deck, 0800-1600, Monday-Friday, closed federal holidays, phone number: (360) 627-2244.
3. Naval Station Everett: Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC), Building 2106, Room 220 on the 2nd Deck, 0800-1600, Monday-Friday, closed on federal holidays, phone number: (425) 304-3884.
4. Naval Air Station Whidbey Island: Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC), 1045 Midway Street, Building 2739, Room 232, Oak Harbor, WA 98278, 0800-1600, Monday-Friday, closed on federal holidays, phone number: (360) 257-3052. NOTE: This VITA Center opened 18 Jan 2011.
VITA centers operate on a walk-in basis. Individuals with more complicated returns may schedule appointments and are encouraged to do so.
If your spouse does not accompany you to the tax center for various reasons like deployment, TAD to a School, you must provide a Special Power of Attorney, available at a Navy Legal Service Office nearest you, or an IRS Power of Attorney (found at http://www.irs.gov) from your spouse.
Individuals seeking assistance should bring the following information to the VITA center: all W-2s, social security cards/numbers, other equivalent identification for spouses and all family members, Form 1099’s, bank statements, proof of child care expenses, daycare provider information, Form 1098 Mortgage Interest Statement, divorce decree, or exemption certificate, IRA information, stock information, last year’s federal and state tax returns and direct deposit information (account and routing number) along with any other tax related forms that might be in question.
There are three (3) categories of taxpayers that MUST wait until mid-to-late February to file their tax returns. They are:
a. Taxpayers claiming itemized deductions on Schedule A. Examples of such deductions include mortgage interest, charitable deductions, medical and dental expenses, and state and local taxes. Any taxpayer who plans to claim itemized deductions instead of claiming the standard deduction falls into this category.
b. Taxpayers claiming the Higher Education Tuition and Fees Deduction. This deduction for parents and students and applies to up to $4,000 of tuition and fees paid to a post-secondary institution. The deduction is claimed separately from itemized deductions on form 8917. Individuals claiming education credits, including the American Opportunity Tax Credit and Lifetime Learning Credit, do NOT fall into this category.
c. Taxpayers claiming the Educator Expense Deduction. This deduction is for educators of kindergarten through grade 12 who paid out-of-pocket classroom expenses of up to $250. The educator expense deduction is claimed on Form 1040, Line 23, and Form 1040A, Line 16.
Specific information on when these taxpayers may begin to file their tax returns will be provided at a later date by the IRS. In the interim, people in the affected categories can start working on their tax returns, but they should not submit their returns until IRS systems are ready to process the new tax law changes. Updated information will be posted both on http://www.irs.gov and will be also be sent out to our VITA Centers in the weeks to come.
For more information, contact the Navy Legal Service Office Northwest nearest you.
You can also get tax updates on Facebook at Naval Legal Service Office Northwest.
POC: LTJG Maggie Villagran, Region Tax Officer, JAGC, USN, 360.396.6003.