Ramstein legal office to provide free tax assistance

Story and photo by Airman 1st Class Joshua Magbanua
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
A sample W-2 lies on a desk on Ramstein Air Base Jan. 12. The 86th Airlift Wing legal office is scheduled to provide military members of certain pay grades with tax return assistance from Feb. 5 until June 15.

The 86th Airlift Wing legal office is providing free tax return assistance to military members from Feb. 5 until June 15, on Ramstein Air Base.

The service will be available to personnel from the ranks of Staff Sergeant and below for enlisted members and Captain and below for officers. The office will begin making appointments on Jan. 29.

Capt. Joseph Bishop, 86th Airlift Wing assistant staff judge advocate, added that while his office also serves members of other service branches, nearby U.S. Army installations have tax return assistance programs of their own.

“Our goal is to support the base in getting their taxes done, and we know that sometimes that can be a very difficult time,” he said. “We’re helping people prepare their taxes and hopefully (they) get a nice refund.”

Bishop listed the various documents a customer would need in order to get their tax returns done: their military I.D., form W-2, and if applicable, student loan-related documents such as the IRS form 1095 and 1099. Bishop also stressed the importance of making sure one’s taxes are in order.

“We want to make sure that when filing these returns, we’re doing it according to law and we’re following applicable rules so that there are no negative repercussions,” he said.

Although the 2018 deadline for filing taxes in the U.S. is April 17, Bishop said that members of the Kaiserslautern Military Community get a two-month extension. However, this extension is only for the tax return. Taxes due must still be paid by the normal deadline, he explained.

In order to keep up with the flow of customers, the legal office reached out to the community for volunteers who would serve as tax preparers and document screeners. Bishop said he was surprised by how many people wanted to help, and was grateful for the turnout of volunteers. He also expressed optimism at the upcoming tax season.

“I’m excited,” he said. “We have great volunteers and a great staff here. With all the support we have, I predict that this is going to be a very successful tax season.”