Ask an Attorney: Where to go for free tax assistance?

by Stephen Smith
21st Theater Sustainment Command
Office of the Staff Judge Advocate

Q: Where can I go for free tax assistance in the KMC or Baumholder?
A: As in past years, the 21st Theater Sustainment Command’s Office of the Staff Judge Advocate will operate four tax assistance centers within the U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz this tax season.

This year, the Landstuhl Tax Assistance Center, which for the last decade has operated out of Bldg. 3701 on Wilson Barracks where Landstuhl Regional Medical Center is located, has moved to the Landstuhl heliport. The heliport is located on the left when driving up the hill to the Landstuhl main gate; it is recognizable by the large white satellite dishes. Once through the heliport main gate, turn left and proceed to Bldg. 3368. The entrance to the tax center is on the left side of the building.

The new tax center will have three times the floor space of the former location, with private offices for tax preparers, reserved parking and a larger waiting area for taxpayers. Last season, over 1,400 customers signed in at the Landstuhl Tax Assistance Center. The new facility opens Feb. 16.
Below is a complete list of the Army tax assistance centers within the garrison footprint:

Kaiserslautern Tax Assistance Center
Kleber Kaserne, Bldg. 3210, room 101
Hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday
Telephone: 483-7688 or 0631-411-7688

• Pulaski Tax Assistance Center
Pulaski Barracks, Bldg. 2886, ground floor
Hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday
Telephone: 493-4300 or 0631-3406-4300

• Landstuhl Tax Assistance Center
Landstuhl heliport, Wilson Barracks, Bldg. 3368
Hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday

• Baumholder Tax Assistance Center
Smith Barracks, Bldg. 8222, ground floor
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday Telephone: 485-1040 or 06783-6-1040

All four tax centers prepare and electronically file current and past year federal and state income tax returns and amended returns as well as assist clients in responding to tax notices. They offer walk-in, appointment and drop-off services. Eligible clients include service members, civilian employees, retirees and dependent family members. Taxpayers should bring the following documents with them to the tax center:

• ID card and all W-2, 1099 and 1098 forms
• IRS Form 1095, which is a new form for 2015, documenting that you and your dependents, if applicable, had minimum essential health insurance coverage under Tricare, a Federal Employee Health Benefits plan or some other kind of health insurance so you will not have to pay a fee as required by the Affordable Care Act
• Social Security number cards for your spouse and dependents, if applicable
• Copies of last year’s federal and state returns, if available
• A blank check or bank card bearing both the routing and account numbers of your checking or savings account
• If filing jointly, bring your spouse or a general power of attorney or a special power of attorney for filing tax returns signed by your spouse.
• If filing with a spouse who has no social security number, bring your spouse’s Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. If your spouse has no ITIN, we can assist your spouse in applying for one.

The average yearly exchange rate for 2015 is .937 euro cents to the dollar. Personal and dependency exemptions for 2015 are $4,000. The standard deduction for married filing joint taxpayers is $12,600; for single and married filing separate returns it is $6,300; and for head of household filers it is $9,250. Mileage deduction rates for 2015 were 57.5 cents per mile for business miles, 23 cents per mile for medical and moving expense miles, and 14 cents per mile for miles driven for charitable purposes. Taxpayers who are eligible to take the foreign earned income exclusion on Form 2555 or 2555-EZ can exclude up to $100,800 for tax year 2015 but can no longer take the Additional Child Tax Credit. The deadline for filing federal tax returns in the U.S. is April 18 this year; the overseas filing deadline is June 15. Overseas filers must pay any taxes owed for 2015 by April 18 to avoid assessment of late payment penalties and interest.

Last year, the nine tax centers operated by the 21st TSC Office of the SJA in Germany and the Benelux prepared over 7,500 federal and state income tax returns, saving military taxpayers almost $2 million in commercial tax preparer fees and generating over $14.6 million in refunds.

Editor’s note: This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. You should always consult an attorney for specific legal questions.