FORT SILL, OK (KSWO) -The beginning of the year brings resolutions and tax returns.
At Fort Sill, some soldiers have already started training to be tax preparers in order to help their fellow servicemen and their families file their taxes for free on post. They'll begin offering that service later in the month.
Specialist Cody McCarty is one of 19 soldiers who was selected to take the course to become a certified IRS Volunteer Tax Preparer. McCarty says prior to taking the course, he knew nothing about taxes. He would even go to an outside agency to get them filed and prepared.
"It's ridiculous. I mean, now that I can actually do this myself, I look back on that and I say this would have been too easy for me to do," Spec. McCarty said.
McCarty says he has gotten a lot of hands-on experience, and although he was hesitant about the course at first, he has learned a lot since it began.
"Who qualifies for what, what dependents can do as far as itemizing your options, but then later on we started going into preparing mocked tax returns," Spec. McCarty explained.
Private First Class Brianna Vasquez says she has had some naysayers at her unit, but she is ready to show them what she has learned.
"It feels great, because you know a lot of your friends kind of doubt you like you can't do this, you can't do that. But when you actually sit down in front of them and you're informing them about the information, they kind of step back and say, 'Okay, you do know what's going on.' So, you know, I'm excited," PFC Vasquez said.
Sheila Olsen, the course instructor, says she wants the service members and their families to take advantage of the free tax filing.
"Too many service members spend hundreds of dollars filing their tax returns and in essence, sometimes it's not a rapid refund, it's literally a loan against a refund. The IRS is not accepting returns until Jan. 19, so it would be in their best interest to wait until they had all their document to do their return," Olsen explained.
The students are set to graduate from their class at the end of next week. The 19 tax preparers will be at the Welcome Center, ready to file your taxes for anyone that has a valid military id card.
The grand opening for the free Income Tax Assistance Center begins Monday, Jan. 25. Just go to the 4th floor and present your valid ID.
For more information about the services provided by ITAC, click here.