The tax centers on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station New River provide free tax services to active duty and retired military members and their dependents during the tax season.
The Marines and Sailors working at the tax centers go through specialized training to ensure they understand the tax system and can answer any questions someone may ask.
According to Petty Officer First Class Marvin Abram, one of the staff noncommissioned officers in charge at the tax center on Camp Lejeune, the service members at the tax centers complete a course from Jackson Hewitt and receive a week of training from tax attorneys.
The tax center located on MCAS New River is a branch of the Camp Lejeune tax center.
“All of our New River people actually work (at Camp Lejeune),” said Hill. “New River tax center is only open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. So Monday, Friday and Saturday, the New River guys actually work here. They go through the same exact training, qualifications and testing.”
Having a tax center on base is a benefit for service members that is free to use.
“It’s a benefit that most jobs don’t give,” said Abram. “It’s a vital part of the function of the base; it gives the Sailors and Marines one less thing to have to worry about. It’s a free service, and we do the best we can to get you back the most money possible.”
The tax center at Camp Lejeune has already served several thousand service members.
“We are over 3,000 returns currently,” said Abram. “Last year I was told they did over 18,000. I think we’re doing pretty well.”
Some Marines and Sailors volunteered to help at the tax center.
“We’re here to help you. There are some here that are (temporary assigned duty) here, and then there are some of us who volunteered to come here,” said Hill.
If the tax center isn’t used, the service could be removed.
“It’s very similar to heath care,” said Abram. “If people stopped using the naval hospitals then suddenly they are shutting them down. Same way here. If nobody uses this place, they would have to go out in town ... where they would be charged four to five hundred dollars on an eight hundred dollar return.”
Incomplete forms can also result in the loss of this resource.
“On the back of the little questionnaire that we give with the intake form, it has a whole bunch of questions,” said Cpl. Tansy Hill, a tax preparer at the tax center on Camp Lejeune and New River. “If those questions don’t get answered when it’s submitted to the IRS, there’s a possibility that we can lose the volunteer service. So if you don’t use it, you lose it.”
The workers at the tax centers will help answer military specific questions a customer may have.
“We kind of understand circumstances better,” said Hill. “We understand how to work around deployment. We understand how to term things in a way that a military member can understand it.”
James Stubbs, tax technician, says in under a month since they opened, the tax centers have saved service members and families over $406,000 and counting.
The tax centers on base are on their way to meet last year’s savings of $2,002,057.
The Camp Lejeune Tax Center is located at Bldg. 50, Lucy Brewer Ave., MCB Camp Lejeune. The MCAS New River Tax Center located at Bldg. AS 213, Bancroft St. MCAS New River.