USAG Humphreys Tax center opens for business

by Bob McElroy

CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea -- The U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys Tax Center opened for business on Jan. 24 with a pledge to provide first-rate tax assistance to the Soldiers, Families, Civilians and Retirees who live and work here.

Located in the Humphreys Consolidated Legal Center, the Tax Center is staffed by 18 Soldier volunteers from seven units on Camp Humphreys. All have completed the U.S. Forces Korea Federal Income Tax Law Course, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service's Voluntary Income Tax Assistance training, online training and certification.

According to Lt. Col. David A. Dulaney, the Command Judge Advocate, the tax preparers have more than 120 hours of tax preparation training and are ready to support the tax needs of the Humphreys community. The Tax Center will be open through June 16, the last day of filing for overseas taxpayers.

At Tuesday's grand opening, USAG Humphreys Deputy to the Garrison Commander Patrick L. MacKenzie thanked the volunteer tax preparers for stepping up to help the community. He recalled some final statistics from last year's tax season.

Last year the tax center served more than 2,000 clients, more than $3 million tax refunds, saved over $400K tax preparation fees and not a single filed return was rejected by the IRS as being improperly filed, MacKenzie said.

"That is fantastic, that benefits the whole organization; it benefits the community and really is great."

MacKenzie said the tax preparers would learn much during their tenure.

"You're going to benefit the community and you're going to take on some really interesting tax situations, folks with rental property, folks who sold houses, folks with income they don't know how to claim, you're going to learn so much in this process," he said.

MacKenzie said he knew this because of his own experience as a VITA tax preparer--he showed the VITA certificate he earned in 1987 as an Army staff sergeant.

"Staff Sgt. MacKenzie got this VITA certificate after doing taxes but what I really got out of this was Staff Sgt. MacKenzie--now Old Man MacKenzie--still does his own taxes. I am very comfortable doing my taxes having gone through this process," he said.

MacKenzie thanked the tax preparers for volunteering to help others and assured them the knowledge they'd gain would serve them throughout their lives.

The Tax Center is located in the USAG Humphreys Consolidated Legal Center, Building 578, in the Legal Assistance Office. It is open from Monday-Wednesday and Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Thursdays 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information call DSN 753-5680 or civilian 031-690-5680.

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