By Lesley Maceyak, Fort Lee Public Affairs
Fort Lee, VA. – The Fort Lee Tax Assistance Center is set to begin its 28th year of service with a continued goal of maximum customer satisfaction, according to Capt. Juan Mejia, the 2016 Tax Assistance Center’s officer in charge.
Customers can set up appointments now, the captain noted. The center opens Monday.
“I am looking forward to another great year,” Mejia said of the 2016 tax season. “With some of our volunteers having upward of 20 years of tax preparation service, and our dedicated Soldiers assisting with returns, we have a great crew and can’t wait to get started.”
The Fort Lee Tax Assistance Center is a free tax preparation service offered to active duty military and their family members as well as military retirees and their families. It is operated by the installation Staff Judge Advocate and staffed with designated military personnel and civilian volunteers who undergo training through the Internal Revenue Service.
Mejia is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the service. Reduced wait times and appointment availability are among his goals for the new tax year.
“This year, we will have more information and intake forms available on our website, and plan to update it as needed,” he said. “This will allow customers to fill out required paperwork before their visit, drastically reducing wait times.
“Customers can improve their experience by filling out intake forms before their appointment, bringing required documents, and ensuring they arrive 10-15 minutes before their appointment,” said Mejia. “It only takes one person to be late for their appointment or not have their documents to throw off the rest of a day’s schedule.”
The Tax Assistance Center will reschedule an appointment if a customer is more than 15 minutes late.
Customers should call the Tax Assistance Center at (804) 734-5732 for appointments and general information, said Mejia. Appointment times are from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday-Friday. Walk-ins begin at 8 a.m. The last clients will be seen at 5 p.m.
The website is www.cascom.army.mil/staff/sja/TaxCenter.htm. The facility is located in building 6052 at 1151 Mekong Road (adjacent to Shop Road, between 11th Street and the Post Field House).
“Anyone who is unsure of whether he or she needs an appointment (versus walk-in services) can call and talk to one of our clerks. They will help individuals determine the best course of action for the client,” Mejia said.
Generally, walk-ins are reserved for EZ filers, he added.
As in years past, customers are strongly encouraged to bring with them all required documents to file their federal and state taxes, said Mejia. These include but are not limited to military identifications cards, Social Security cards, wage and earnings statements and powers of attorney.
Customers also should bring required mortgage documents, bank account and routing numbers (both are located on a blank check), and daycare payment amounts along with provider ID numbers. Those enrolled in the Affordable Health Care program should bring forms 1095A, B or C, which will be available during the last week of January, said Mejia.
Last year, the Tax Assistance Center filed 1,911 federal and 1,263 state returns that saved community members $845,450 in tax preparation fees and costs, and netted them almost $3.5 million in refunds.
The 2016 tax filing season will begin Jan. 19 and concludes April 18. The Tax Assistance Center will close its doors May 13, but the service will continue on a limited basis.