By Capt. Jose Moncayo
The 2015 tax season is upon us, and once again White Sands Missile Range is participating in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. Military personnel, military dependents, and retirees and dependents, are eligible for free, volunteer assistance with the preparation of state and federal tax returns. And most folks may be able to e-file their tax return. VITA kicked off Feb. 1.
Don’t pay for your tax return when you can have your return prepared for FREE and if you e-file, that refund can be electronically deposited in a very short time. VITA volunteers—trained and certified tax assistants—will prepare your returns and then the returns will be reviewed and electronically filed at the JAG Office. Before the VITA volunteer can help, you must bring W-2s (not an end-of-the-year LES), 1099’s (primarily reports interest income), and Social Security cards for all persons claimed on the return (returns will not be prepared without social security cards), birth dates of children, a copy of a check with the bank routing number and checking account number, last year’s return, and bring any other documents which will ensure accurate tax return preparation to the appointment with your VITA volunteer.
Where do you start? First collect all the tax documents you will need to file your taxes (W2’s, 1099R, Interest, Dividends, last year tax returns, SSN cards, etc.) and then contact the JAG Office at (575) 678-1263 to schedule your tax appointment.
Tips for Electronic Filing
Electronic filing allows taxpayers to transmit their return information via computer modem to the Internal Revenue Service. Electronic filing allows the IRS to process returns quicker and decreases the time for receiving refunds.
Take a few minutes to check your federal and state tax returns before mailing or electronically filing them. These few minutes, according to IRS officials, may save you time and money. For example, missing forms or the wrong Social Security numbers could kick back the tax return for correction. This could cost you interest and penalties, even though you filed before the April 15 deadline. Also, mistakes slow down the processing of your returns and can delay a refund check. A few things to double check:
- A wrong Social Security number for a dependent may end up costing you the exemption you claimed for that person.
- Contrary to popular believe the IRS does not pay postage due. It sends you a postage due envelope and delays processing your tax return until you pay. If the IRS receives your postage after the April 15 deadline, it considers your return late even if you originally mailed it early.
- Missing schedules, forms and signatures could cause the tax return to be returned for correction.
- Make sure your correct name and Social Security appear on each schedule.
- If you have changed your name due to marriage, divorce, etc, make sure that the name on the return matches the name on your Social Security card.
- Make sure your spouse signed and dated the tax return if you are filing a joint return.
- Check your math.
- Make sure the necessary forms are correctly completed and attached if you are claiming earned income credit, childcare credit, or any other type of credit.
- Double-check that boxes are correctly marked and that figures are correctly carried over and entered on the appropriate lines.
- Ensure that you used the correct tax figures from the tax tables.
- If you owe taxes, spell out Internal Revenue Service on the check or money order, as well as including your Social Security number on the check.
- Make sure the W-2 Form, schedules and other required forms are attached in the proper order to the federal tax return.
Take advantage of the tax program provided at White Sands Missile Range. Why pay commercial tax preparers anywhere from $40 to $300 for the same services that you would receive from the tax preparers at White Sands Missile Range, for free? Remember, a commercial preparer’s only motive is to make money; it’s the sole reason they’re in the tax return business. Their fees come out of your pocket! Come down to the JAG office, get your taxes prepared by certified personnel, and keep your hard earned money. Your wallet will thank you for it.