Team Vance’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program offers free federal and state income tax preparation for service members and their families annually.
“It’s ridiculous what people are getting charged for doing a simple tax return,” said retired Chief Master Sgt. Steven Long, a VITA volunteer at the Retiree Activities Office.
The VITA program is available for all active duty, Reserve, National Guard, Department of Defense civilians, dependents, military retirees and others who have approved access to the base, Long said.
Trained, certified volunteers will begin helping customers in late January. The program runs through April 18.
In order to take advantage of VITA’s services, customers are encouraged to bring Social Security cards, DOD identification cards, tax forms, W-2s, student-loans payment information, retirement contributions, bank routing and account numbers, and any related expense documents.
Long started volunteering in 2001 and is now the site coordinator. He plans to keep volunteering his free time to help others with their tax returns as well as training new volunteers.
“I think it’s always nice to give back,” Long said. “If VITA can help you, we will help.”
VITA appointments last no more than 30 minutes and are one-on-one with a volunteer who will discuss all the details of the customer’s tax return, ensuring that everything is correctly filled out for a smooth tax-return process, Long said.
Long said this season’s goal is to help 400 people file tax returns and save Team Vance airmen half a million dollars.
The VITA program still needs volunteers to help airmen file their taxes, Long said. They are searching for anyone willing to spend approximately two weeks on a self-paced training program that certifies volunteers to help with basic tax preparation.
“Anybody who wants to volunteer should; we’ll show you how to use the program and get you to the point where you could do a tax return,” Long said.
Current volunteers are retired personnel, he said. It would be great to get some active-duty airmen and add some new faces to the program, he said.
For more information about the VITA program or volunteer opportunities, contact the VITA office in Room 102, Building 200, or call (580) 213-7859.