FORT SILL, OK (KSWO/FORT SILL) –The year is almost over and that means tax season is nearly upon us.
The Fort Sill Income Tax Assistance Center will help soldiers, retirees and their eligible family members prepare their federal and state tax returns free of charge. The center will also help them file their taxes electronically, which means they could have their tax refund deposited into their account in as little as 10 days.
Last year, ITAC saved the Fort Sill community more than $1 million in tax return preparation fees while making sure everyone received all possible credits, deductions and exemptions.
The Income Tax Assistance Center will hold a grand opening ceremony January 25, 2016. They will be located in the Fort Sill Welcome Center, Building 4700 on Mow-Way Road. They anticipate their hours will be Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with Thursdays being open until 6:00 p.m. They should also be open from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Saturdays. Appointments will start in February for Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays; walk-ins will be taken care of Monday through Wednesday. Appointments can be by calling 580-442-6445 once ITAC opens for the 2015 tax season.
If you have complex tax returns, you're asked to come prepared with all of your documents. ITAC is prepared to complete tax returns for rental property owners, stock sales, Schedule C-EZs and Schedule Cs up to $5,000 so long as you have all of the necessary paperwork.
There are limitations to what ITAC can do for business owners and the self-employed with subordinate employees. ITAC believes this should affect a very small amount of clients and you are encouraged to call ITAC if you're unsure if they can help.
ITAC has a top 10 list of what to look for when filing your taxes this year:
- Standard deductions are going up. Single-$6,300, Married Filing Joint-$12,600, Married Filing Separate-$6,300, Head of Household-$9,250, Widow with Children-$12,600.
- Personal exemptions are rising. Last year the amount was $3,950, this tax year it went up $50 to $4,000 per exemption.
- EITC or Earned Income Tax Credit is also rising. The maximum allowable will go up modestly as a whole. For those with three or more qualifying children will see the maximum credit only go up $27, while those with only two children will rise by $24, and those with one-child households will be $14 higher. Those with no children and qualify for EITC will only see a bump of $3 for the new tax year.
- Tax brackets also experienced a slight rise due to the adjustment for inflation for a total of about 0.4%. So, for those who are Single and earning between $9,226-$37,450 or Married Filing Joint and earning combined $18,451-$74,900 or Head of Household earning between $13,151-$50,200 your tax bracket is at 15%.
- New tax forms to bring with your W-2’s when filing your income tax returns. Active duty soldiers need to have their 1095-C, which can be located in MyPay. This form is for those who have employer provided health insurance. This form will verify that minimum essential health coverage was met for the taxpayer and dependents enrolled into DEERs. *If you claim dependents and they are not listed on this form, the taxpayer(s) will incur a penalty in accordance with the provisions of the Affordable Care Act or ACA. Tax penalties related to ACA will rise by $695 per adult or 2.5% of income. A family maximum will apply to the per-person amount.
- Retirees, Social Security, and Contractors will see a form 1095-B, which is like the 1095-C in that it is a health coverage report that indicates minimum essential health coverage was provided for the individuals who received coverage under a plan through their employer, government sponsored, individual market place insurance, multiple employer plans or other minimum coverage. The only exception are for those foreign nationals, registered aliens with ITIN and tribal exemption. For more information related to minimum essential coverage with regards to filing personal income tax returns, visit https://www.irs.gov/Affordable-Care-Act.
- Alternative Minimum Tax or AMT is higher this year. Single tax payers will see their AMT exemptions go up to $300 and Married Filing Joint will see a $500 boost.
- There are some slight changes regarding retirement investment. Elective deferral limit for employees participating in 401(k), 403(b) and most 457 plans to include the Federal Government’s Thrift Savings Plan or TSP unchanged at $18,000.
The highlights of limitations that changed from 2015 to 2016 include the following:
The AGI limit for the saver’s credit (also known as the retirement savings contribution credit) for low- and moderate-income workers is $61,500 for married couples filing jointly, up from $61,000; $46,125 for heads of household, up from $45,750; and $30,750 for married individuals filing separately and for singles, up from $30,500.
The highlights of limitations that remain unchanged from 2015 include the following:
The catch-up contribution limit for employees aged 50 and over who participate in 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans, and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan remains unchanged at $6,000.
The limit on annual contributions to an Individual Retirement Arrangement (IRA) remains unchanged at $5,500. The additional catch-up contribution limit for individuals aged 50 and over is not subject to an annual cost-of-living adjustment and remains $1,000.
The deduction for taxpayers making contributions to a traditional IRA is phased out for those who have modified adjusted gross incomes (AGI) within a certain range. For singles and heads of household who are covered by a workplace retirement plan, the income phase-out range remains unchanged at $61,000 to $71,000. For married couples filing jointly, in which the spouse who makes the IRA contribution is covered by a workplace retirement plan, the income phase-out range remains unchanged at $98,000 to $118,000. For a married individual filing a separate return who is covered by a workplace retirement plan, the phase-out range is not subject to an annual cost-of-living adjustment and remains $0 to $10,000.
The AGI phase-out range for a married individual filing a separate return who makes contributions to a Roth IRA is not subject to an annual cost-of-living adjustment and remains $0 to $10,000.
- As with last year, lawmakers are waiting until the last minute to renew popular tax breaks such as state sales tax deductions, teacher’s write-off deductions for classroom supplies, and private mortgage insurance deductions. As of Dec. 15, these provisions have not been renewed.
- Tax Day is April 18, 2016. Meaning, you have until April 18 because Emancipation Day is Friday, April 15, 2016, for Washington D.C. and under the federal law, the tax deadline gets extended when it falls on a holiday or weekend, so the tax deadline will be the following Monday, April 18. However, at the Fort Sill Income Tax Assistance Center, the last day to come in will be April 15 by 5:00 p.m. If you need further assistance beyond that date, Sheila Olsen, the ITAC Coordinator, is available on an appointment basis by calling (580) 442-6699 outside of the tax season.
The tax center is looking for volunteers to help with tax returns. All training is provided under the standards established by the IRS Volunteer Information Tax Assistance Program. Training starts Jan. 5, 2016. Call 580-442-6699 for details.
For more information, call the Fort Sill Income Tax Assistance Center at (580) 442-6445/6699.