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Free help on taxes at JBLM

Spec. Michael Bryant, left, of the 4th Battalion, 23rd Infantry, left, works with Spec. William Cho, of the 109th Expeditionary Military Intelligence Battalion, at the JBLM Tax Center Tuesday. (JBLM PAO photo)

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The Joint Base Lewis-McChord Tax Center opens January 24, 2017. to help the JBLM community prepare for a quick and painless tax season.

The center is entering its second year in the Clarkmoor Elementary School, located at the intersection of South Division and Bitar Avenue on Lewis Main. Last year, more than 5,000 people used the free service and Capt. Kylie Cook, who oversees the program, is expecting around the same number.

“We expect to be very busy when we first open since many people want to complete their returns early,” Cook said. “Sooner is better, so you beat the end of filing season rush."

While the final day to file taxes is still months away, it’s always encouraged to file sooner rather than later. The center opens at 8 a.m and closes at 6 p.m and will operate until April 18. It is staffed by other service members who have trained and been certified by the IRS. When the center opens its doors, it expects to be swamped, with the majority of traffic coming in the first few weeks.

There will also be a self-service kiosk inside the center to try and help reduce traffic and lines.

If you are planning on visiting, make sure to bring your military ID, social security card for everyone listed on the return, W-2, all relevant and applicable documents on income and expenses, Affordable Care Act statements and the prior year’s tax return.

The free service is offered to active-duty members, qualified reservists, national guard, retirees and their families.

“It is important that we give back to the military community and provide a free service that would otherwise be expensive for many families,” Cook said. “We have over 30 personnel who have been trained and certified to prepare taxes through the IRS VITA program, and it is the only free tax preparation service available on all of JBLM.”

While many decide to use an online or private service to power through tax season, Cook believes that this is a superior option for service members from JBLM.

“First, it is free, and second, it provides a personal touch with IRS-certified preparers who are military members and familiar with military-specific issues,” Cook said. “The JBLM Tax Center provides a great service to the service members, dependents, and retirees in the JBLM area.”

For more information, call 253-967-1040.

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