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Aviano Tax Center needs volunteers

Posted 11/29/2011   Updated 11/29/2011 Email story   Print story


31st Fighter Wing Staff Judge Advocate

11/29/2011 - AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy -- With tax filing season just around the corner, the Aviano Tax Center needs volunteers to help the base community members with their income tax returns.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program operates in conjunction with the Internal Revenue Service and is supervised by specialists from the legal office.

"I'm excited to be this year's tax coordinator and I look forward to a fantastic tax season helping the Aviano community with its taxes," said Staff Sgt. Shameka Hines, Aviano Tax Program coordinator. "We are looking at several new ideas for the tax center this year, including reaching out to Airmen living in the dorms and bringing our services directly to the customer."

Volunteers can be active-duty personnel, civilian employees, retirees or dependents. They will be trained and certified on how to assist tax clients. Military retirees and dependents are subject to background checks before volunteering.

Last year, volunteers saved Aviano members $199,559 in preparation fees and secured more than $2.3 million in tax refunds.

"The VITA tax preparers were remarkable in handling the volume of tax filings and offering exceptional customer service to clients," Hines said. "Volunteers are the heart and soul of the tax program -- their professionalism and dedication to the Aviano community and the tax center made the program a success."

"For many in the Aviano community, navigating the intricacies of the tax code can be stressful," said Capt. Joe Weismantel, 31st Fighter Wing Chief of Legal Assistance. "Life-changing events such as a birth of a child, or a purchase of a new home may have unanticipated tax consequences, good or bad. The volunteers help alleviate the stress by providing this valuable service. I think it is great that so many are willing to help at such an important time of year."

Aviano volunteers are encouraged to assist clients by serving at least two three-hour shifts per week at the tax center. Because most tax assistance is done during the daytime, unit commanders and supervisors must give interested individuals their permission before volunteering.

No experience is needed to be a volunteer; the VITA program will provide all the necessary training. Volunteers are also needed for general assistance in receptionist duties, filing and making copies.

"Regardless of the amount of time you can volunteer, or the extent of your expertise, we can most certainly use your help," said Hines.

To volunteer or for more information, call Hines at DSN 632-4767 or e-mail 31fw.tax@aviano.af.mil.

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