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One thing certain: 'tis the season to be filing

Illustration by Staff Sgt. Austin May

Illustration by Staff Sgt. Austin May

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Not much time remains until April 15, and all citizens are required to file their taxes by that date. As responsible citizens, all Airmen and their families must complete this important financial task.

Vandenberg offers free tax advice, assistance, preparation and electronic filing. The 30th Space Wing Judge Advocate office teams up with the IRS and volunteers from the military community to provide this service. Volunteers prepare forms, including child and education credits. Those whose income includes profitability or investments outside military entitlements may be ineligible to use the program.

The tax office has moved to Building 8500, room 206. Steps to prepare for an appointment can vary, so call 606-2247 for specifics on what forms and documents to take. Some paperwork to bring to a tax appointment include: last year's tax returns, Social Security numbers for the whole family, documentation of income and receipts for business and education expenses are just some of the necessary paperwork.

Special pay is excluded from taxable income, as are basic allowance for housing and basic allowance for subsistence. Military members stationed abroad may also get a two-month extension if they expect a refund; however, any taxes paid after April 15 will accrue interest from the original due date. Servicemembers deployed to combat zones before the due date will have 180 days after their return to file. These guidelines are detailed in IRS publication 54, tax guide for U.S. citizens and resident aliens abroad.

For 2008, save receipts for charitable contributions. Receipts are especially important for military members or for plans to itemize deductions.

Those married within the last year and changed names must make sure the IRS has coordinated the changes to match the Social Security number. With the right amount of preparation and by using the resources available, filing taxes should be a smooth process.

Military personnel can also get help online with their taxes. The IRS provides a free file service on its Web site, which lists several tax preparation services, many of which provide free service to military members. The Web Site Military OneSource also provides free tax assistance to military members.

Anyone who received disability compensation, pension or survivors' benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs last year, or those who received Social Security benefits in 2007 may be entitled to an economic stimulus payment, even if they are not required to file a tax return. They may receive a payment of $300 for individuals or $600 for married couples. Eligible taxpayers who qualify for a payment may receive an additional $300 for each qualifying child.