By Pfc. William Spencer Hatton
7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq – With the New Year upon us, tax season is around the corner. Deployed Soldiers will have the opportunity to file their taxes at a new tax center provided by the Legal Service Center here beginning in early February.
The Legal Service Center built a tax center next door, equipped with everything needed to file taxes, said Capt. Rob Michaels, a legal assistance attorney in the office of the Staff Judge Advocate, Multi-National Division - Baghdad.
The tax center was built up from nothing, said Sgt. Tommie Padgett, a construction worker, with the 414th Civil Affairs Battalion.
The Legal Service Center was donated a trailer, but the trailer had absolutely nothing inside, said Padgett, a native of Clinton, N.Y. Everything inside the trailer had to be built from scratch, including rebuilding the roof and putting tile on the floor, he added.
With the tax center completed, Soldiers will now be able to file their taxes in a newly built office.
Soldiers who want to file their taxes can come in regardless of what their circumstances, Michaels said. He said it's not required to file taxes during a deployment, but Soldiers must file within 180 days of returning home., said Michaels, a native of Athens, Penn.
In order to file with the tax services, a copy a Soldier's W-2, social security card, and photo ID are required, Michaels said.
"A copy of last year's tax return would be helpful," said the Athens, Penn., native. "If a Soldier doesn't have it here, we can help them get it, if it's even needed."
An important reason to come to the tax center, Michaels said, is because his Soldiers manning the center know the tax laws associated with filing. They have a better understanding of what needs to be done, he added.
Soldiers can find their W-2 forms on the Mypay.com website. The forms should be available not later than the Jan. 22, according to the website. A copy of bank statements and interest paperwork is also helpful, Michaels said. If the right paperwork is brought, the process should only take 15 to 20 minutes.
"Even if a Soldier comes in with no paperwork, we'll still be able to help him," Michaels said. "We'll at least point him in the right direction."
Soldiers who still wish to prepare their own tax returns can still file at the tax center, said Michaels.
"We have computers available for anyone that needs to file," he said. Having a one-stop-shop for every tax question is another benefit of the Camp Liberty tax center.
"If Soldiers have any questions about filing there taxes this year, they can come in and we should be able to help them," Michaels said. "One benefit of filing taxes now is that you'll get your money now, instead of waiting until you get home from deployment. You can put that money into savings and start collecting interest."
For more information Soldiers can call the Camp Liberty Legal Service Center at 242-4568.