VITA tax help still available

VITA volunteer Tom Ford, right, helps Tracy Loescher, retired chief aviation systems warfare operator, with his tax return. Dennis Connolly/Whidbey Crosswind

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance office is up and running for 10 more days at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.

Retired Capt. Roger Pierce said as many as 30-40 volunteers have helped active duty sailors, dependents, family members and retirees with their taxes and will continue to help until April 18, this  year’s tax deadline.

Tax preparation is completely free and filed online so sailors can get their returns within two weeks.

Since it opened its office at NAS Whidbey on Jan. 18, VITA has helped about 1,757 people save approximately $4 million. Pierce expects to help well over 2,000 people by April 18.

Volunteers have helped young sailors of 18 years of age, along with Navy retirees in their 80’s. Pierce said at least half of them are young sailors. All are affiliated with the Navy.

VITA has been serving people since 1995 and Pierce said an indispensable part of the office’s success are the retired volunteers. Time volunteers spend helping people ranges anywhere from 15 minutes to several hours.

The cornerstone of the NAS Whidbey office consists of Pierce, Tom Glenn and Tom Ford.They have been here right from the start. Pierce is the IRS expert, having prepared tax returns for 10 years – six professionally and four as a VITA volunteer.

All the volunteers are professionally trained by the IRS and are certified tax preparers.

VITA volunteers are available Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. They are located in the Navy Operation Support Command Building, (Bldg. 2793) or call them at 257-5952.