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Friday, October 17, 2014 - 11:31am

Fort Bliss Tax Centers set to open Jan. 24

Fort Bliss
Thursday, January 16, 2014 - 8:13pm

Free tax service for military and retirees

Another year has begun, and with it comes yet another tax season. While the thought of giving Uncle Sam any more money is, for the most part, not a cheery one, Fort Bliss Soldiers, their dependents and retirees can take comfort that Fort Bliss will be offering free tax preparation services.

Last year, the Fort Bliss tax centers saved Soldiers, retirees and their families more than $1.2 million in tax preparation fees. This year the Fort Bliss tax centers strive to provide high quality tax preparation and keep more money in the pockets of eligible customers.

As we get ready for the upcoming tax season, below are some answers to some questions regarding filing 2014 tax returns at the two centers.

When will the IRS begin accepting tax returns?

Due to the government shutdown in October, the Internal Revenue Service was delayed in its preparations for the upcoming tax season. The IRS will not begin accepting tax returns, electronically or through the mail, until Jan. 31. While commercial preparers can offer to prepare the returns earlier, they cannot submit the return until Jan. 31.

When will the Fort Bliss centers open?

The opening ceremony for the Fort Bliss tax centers will be at 1:30 p.m. Jan. 24 at Bldg. 2910, the West Fort Bliss Tax Center. Tax preparation services will begin Jan. 27. The centers can prepare returns and get them ready for submission, but cannot submit them until Jan. 31. The two centers will remain open through April 15, the tax filing deadline.

Where are the Fort Bliss tax centers located?

The locations will be the same as last year. The East Fort Bliss Tax Center will be located at Bldg. 403, across from 1st Armored Division Headquarters, and the West Fort Bliss Tax Center will be located at Bldg. 2910, next to Stout Gym.

What hours will the tax centers be open?

Both locations will be open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Mondays and Wednesdays, there will be extended hours until 6:30 p.m. The locations are open during lunch. The East Bliss location will be open for morning appointments from 9 a.m. to noon, and will accept walk-ins in the afternoon from noon to close (5 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday or 4:30p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays). The West Bliss location will accept walk-ins from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and will take appointments in the afternoon from noon to close (5 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday or 4:30 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays).

In addition, both locations will be open on days of no scheduled activities, commonly referred to as DONSAs, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., but will only see patrons by appointment.

Unlike last year, tax preparation services will also be available every Saturday through April 12, with the two locations providing Saturday services on an alternating basis. The West Fort Bliss location will be open on the 1st, 3rd, and 5th Saturday of each month. The East Bliss location will be open on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month. Saturday hours for both locations will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and customers will be seen on appointment-only basis.

Who is eligible for tax preparation services at the Fort Bliss tax centers?

Active duty service members and their dependents are eligible, as well as Reserve Soldiers on active duty for more than 29 days and their dependents. In addition, retirees and their dependents are eligible.

Will it cost me anything to get my tax returns done at one of the Fort Bliss tax centers?

No. Unlike at commercial preparers, getting your tax returns done on post is free. Our preparers are trained to the highest level by the IRS and are able to complete both federal and state tax returns.

What do I do if I need more information or need to contact the Fort Bliss Tax Center?

To learn more, call the Fort Bliss Tax Center main phone number at 568-4999. The centers will begin taking appointments Wednesday. You can also visit

https://www.bliss.army.mil/StaffJudgeAdvocate/taxcenter.html. 

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