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Tax season volunteers honored for efforts

By C. Todd Lopez

ANDREWS AIR FORCE BASE, Md. (June 22, 2007) -- Members of the Andrews community gathered June 15 at the Andrews Wing Rotunda, to honor those who helped Airmen prepare for the 2006 income tax filing date as part of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.

Some 64 Airmen and Sailors from the Andrews community helped Airmen file more than 700 federal and nearly 500 state income tax forms during this filing season. Altogether, Airmen received $1,414,892 dollars in both federal and state tax returns as a result of efforts by VITA volunteers.

Mel Harding, of the Internal Revenue Service, said the work the volunteers did for their fellow servicemembers was honorable.

"Today we take time to acknowledge the service provided this tax season by the VITA representative at Andrews," he said. "These gallant individuals sacrificed their time and talents to assist their fellow service men and women in preparing free tax returns. (Their) extraordinary contribution made this filing season a success by helping to deliver quality service to (their) fellow service members."

Tech. Sgt. Kathryn R. Jensen, 1st Helicopter Squadron, Life Support technician, was one of the volunteers for the VITA program. She said this year, changes in the software for filing taxes allowed her to be more flexible as a volunteer.

"This year the tax program software was much more mobile because it could be accessed from any computer with a web connection," she said. "I tried to make use of that mobility. I developed a sort of 'tax center on the go.' Customers made appointments with me to do taxes where they worked, lived, or felt like meeting and at a time that was convenient to both of us. This enabled me to fit a few people in here and there when my schedule was tight or even work in the evening when the legal office was closed."

Sergeant Jenson said her system was especially helpful for Airmen with children.

"By scheduling an appointment with me, they were saved from sitting in the waiting area right through the kids' nap or snack times, which is hard on everyone," she said.

All 64 volunteers received certificates that documented their contributions to the 2006 tax filing season. A dozen of those volunteers were also presented additional recognition for going above and beyond what was required of them.