VITA to Begin 6 February – Navy Unveils Changes to this Year’s Tax Assistance Program

By: LTJG Nick Linstroth, VITA Coordinator, Navy Region Northwest

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program assists eligible persons with preparation and filing of state and federal income taxes at no cost. In accordance with NAVADMIN 357/11, tax centers will be operating as self-service sites this year. The self‐service program is centered on a model that offers tax assistance centers equipped with computer stations where customers prepare their own tax returns with the assistance of a core group of IRS-trained volunteers.

A primary goal of self‐service is to educate our customers so that they will understand and have the ability to complete their own tax returns. “Self-service tax preparation helps educate Sailors and dependents in preparing their own tax returns, thereby promoting self-reliance and financial accountability,” said Vice Admiral John M. Bird, Director of Navy Staff.

The on-site volunteers are servicemembers and civilians who have been trained by the IRS. Although the VITA program is designed to be self-service, these volunteers will be ready and able to answer questions and provide guidance to individuals who are preparing their tax returns on the computers.

Also changing this year are the eligibility requirements for tax preparation services. Active-duty military and their dependents still qualify for VITA service, but retirees, retiree dependents, and former spouses with an adjusted gross income over $57,000 will not be eligible for assistance at the VITA self-service tax centers. Last year’s tax returns likely offer a good estimate as to a taxpayer’s adjusted gross income for the upcoming filing season.

Navy Region Northwest will offer three self-service tax centers that will operate on a walk-in basis. Sites will be open 6 February through 17 April 2012 at the following locations, with the following operating hours:

1. Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor:  Plaza Building between the Inside Out Café and the Khaki Club

  • Monday – Thursday 1000 – 1800
  • Friday 1000 – 1600
  • 2nd and 4th Saturdays of each month 1000 – 1400
  • closed federal holidays
  • Phone: (360) 315-8202

2. Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton: Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC), BLDG 1013, 2nd Deck

  • Monday – Friday 0800 – 1600
  • closed federal holidays
  • Phone (360) 627-2232

3. Naval Station Everett: Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC), BLDG 2106, Room 220, 2nd Deck

  • Monday – Friday 0800 – 1600
  • closed on federal holidays
  • Phone (425) 304-3884.

Please note that the hours of operation are subject to change based on customer demand and/or volunteer staffing requirements. Those seeking tax assistance are encouraged to call their preferred site with questions regarding hours or eligibility requirements.

Individuals seeking assistance should bring the following information to the tax center:

  • All W-2s
  • Social security card(s)/number(s) (or other equivalent identification) for spouses and all dependent family members
  • Form 1099(s)
  • Bank statements
  • Proof of child care expenses
  • Daycare provider information
  • Form 1098 mortgage interest statement(s)
  • Divorce decree(s) or dependent exemption certificate(s)
  • IRA information, stock information
  • Last year’s federal and state tax returns
  • Direct deposit information (account and bank routing number)
  • Any other tax related forms that might be in question.

If you are married, wanting to file a joint tax return, and your spouse does not accompany you to the tax center, you must provide either a special power of attorney (available at a Naval Legal Service Office), or an IRS power of attorney (IRS Form 2848 found at http://www.irs.gov). Either power of attorney requires a signature from the absent spouse; the special power of attorney must be notarized.

For more information, contact the Naval Legal Service Office nearest you. You can also get tax updates on Facebook at Naval Legal Service Office Northwest.

POC: LTJG Nick Linstroth, Region Tax Officer, JAGC, USN, (425) 304-4562.

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About rlsonw

Navy JAG Corps
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