Fort Riley Tax Center now open for business, offers free services
From left to right, Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Colvin Bennett; Elizabeth Thurston, installation tax attorney, Legal Assistance Office, Office of the Staff Judge Advocate; Maj. Zelalem Awoke, deputy staff judge advocate, USAG; and Garrison Commander Col. William Clark, cut the ribbon Jan. 23 for the official opening of the tax center at Building 7034. Photo by: Calun Reece, POST.
Story by: Calun Reece
1ST INF. DIV. POST
Soldiers and Families who may be feeling a bit daunted about this year's tax season have a helping hand at the Fort Riley Tax Center.
The center officially opened for business Jan. 23, and it is providing free tax preparation assistance to Soldiers, including active duty, active Army Reservists on orders for more than 30 days, retirees and eligible Family dependents.
The tax center is located at Building 7034, at the corner of Normandy and Bullard on Custer Hill.
The service the tax center provides to Fort Riley is incredible, said Fort Riley Garrison Commander Col. William Clark.
"I went back over the numbers, and, what happened in 2012, over 13,000 tax returns were done here in this building, between state and federal returns," he said. "You saved our Families and Soldiers 1 million-and-a-half bucks in preparation fees, and we got them back $15 million."
Trained tax preparers will provide assistance for 2010, 2011 and 2012 federal tax returns, however, state returns will only be prepared with federal returns, according to Elizabeth Thurston, installation tax attorney, Legal Assistance Office, Office of the Staff Judge Advocate.
It is a wonderful program, Thurston said, adding her staff is excited to get started.
"I'm a tax preparer, and … It gives me great pleasure to serve the Soldiers," said Sarah Desmet, tax preparer, Manhattan, Kan. "I think that it's a great honor to have the responsibility to make their life easier and their time at Fort Riley more productive."
Participants are encouraged to make appointments with the center.
"We will expect to be very busy, and we want to serve as many of the Soldiers, Families and veterans that we can," Desmet said.
Hours of operation will be from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday to Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. Walk-ins are welcome, and appointments are available Monday to Friday. To make an appointment, call 785-239-1040.