|Staff Sgt. Michael Belcher is ready to help U.S. taxpayers at the Vicenza Tax Office on Caserma Ederle. Vicenza Tax Office is open until Friday, June 15.(U.S. Army Africa photo by Rich Bartell)|
Tax office open until June 15 to serve Soldiers and civilians
By Rich Bartell, U.S. Army Africa Public Affairs
VICENZA, Italy–Military and civilians who are U.S. taxpayers on Caserma Ederle can still drop by Vicenza’s Tax Center for advice and help on tax returns.
“We’re here until June 15 to help our customers with their tax return needs. And that includes state taxes too,” said Capt. Derek Coyne, officer in charge of the tax center.
Located in the Judge Advocate General’s office, the tax center is staffed by full time military and civilian preparers. So far this year, the center has assisted taxpayers receive more than $4 million on 2011 tax returns and saved customers more than an estimated $400,000 in preparers’ fees during their operations.
“We have a great team of civilians and military prepares here. They’re all Internal Revenue Service trained and at the peak of tax season in March, the team completed nearly 500 returns in one week,” said Coyne, a lawyer with USARAF’s JAG office.
The prep team is comprised of Soldiers and civilians from several different organizations on Caserma Ederle. Rick Kenney, in his third year as lead civilian preparer, recently received a Department of the Army Civilian Achievement Medal and an on-the-spot cash award of $500 in recognition for his work at the tax center.
“We’re fortunate to have had Rick Kinney as a leader at the tax office for the last three years and we will certainly miss his expertise if he leaves,” Coyne said.
The tax prep team represents all major units in Vicenza’s military community with Andrea Green and 173d Airborne Brigade Combat Team Soldiers Pfc. Eddy Dufrene and Spc. Richard Seabridge, Sgt. Candice Piercey from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, U.S. Army Garrison Vicenza and Staff Sgt. Michael Belcher from U.S. Army Africa.
“We’re client-service oriented and the tax center is open through lunch and on training holidays,” Coyne said. “Our correct completion rate so far this year is in the 99th percentile. We’re accurate and time-on-task.”
Coyne said office quality control checks ensure an extremely low IRS rejection rate.
“Returns are processed and then sent for quality review. In the rare case a return is rejected, it is sent back to us for reprocessing. Rejections are rarely due to preparer error. Most rejected returns are due to other issues such as wrong information on file with the social security administration or a family member already claimed on a former spouse's return,” Coyne said.
Coyne offered advice for those who are still in need of tax return preparation.
“We’re still here until June 15 – qualified customers can drop off the return at our office in the morning and if everything is in order, we can usually have the return, ready for signature by the end of the day.”