4 Lamplighter 1 (1992-1993)

handle is hein.journals/lmplgt4 and id is 1 raw text is: Income Tax Assistance in the Army
COL. ALFRED F. ARQUILLA*

The army remains the only military
service with a comprehensive and ag-
gressive income-tax preparation and
electronic tax-filing program. By reg-
ulation, commanders are responsible
for the legal assistance programs
within their commands. Part of that re-
sponsibility includes supplying per-
sonnel and other resources so that tax
assistance services can be offered to
eligible legal assistance clients, most
of whom are soldiers and their im-
mediate families.
Reasons for Providing
Tax Assistance
Providing tax assistance is as much
a part of the army legal assistance
program as other legal assistance
services, such as helping soldiers re-
solve landlord-tenant disputes and do-
mestic relations problems. The legal
assistance program, as outlined in the
new army regulation 27-3, is based on
the army's need to maintain readi-
ness, morale, discipline and a quality
force. This need is met by army tax
assistance services just as it is met by
other legal assistance services.
There is also another good reason
for providing tax assistance services.
The transient nature .of military service
complicates the tax situation of many
soldiers and takes them away from
those in their families, such as par-
ents, who might help them with their
taxes. Also, filing tax returns for two
or more states during one tax year is
not unusual for a married soldier with
a working spouse (or dependent chil-
*Chief, Army Legal Assistance Office
of the Judge Advocate General,
United States Army.

dren who work), or for a soldier who
rents out his or her principal residence
when stationed elsewhere in the United
States or overseas.
The extra effort required on the part
of army lawyers to provide tax serv-
ices saves soldiers and their families
money-money that can be better
spent, particularly by those on limited
budgets-on food, shelter, clothing,
and other necessities, such as child
care. As with the money they save on
other free legal services from the army,
this army effort boosts morale and
helps the army in its effort to retain
quality soldiers.
Planning
Planning for tax services at army
installations begins around August of
each year for the the tax season that
begins the following January. Attor-
neys develop or update plans that
cover such matters as responsibilities,
procedures, policies, equipment,
training, statistical records and re-
ports, and command involvement and
support.
Obtaining command support is es-
sential to the success of the effort.
One important aspect of this support
is getting commanders to publicize the
army's tax assistance services at
command briefings and conferences.
Another is obtaining their cooperation
in appointing well-qualified unit tax ad-
visors, usually noncommissioned and
junior commissioned officers, in each
company or battalion-sized unit. These
advisors do the bulk of the tax assis-
tance provided throughout the army.
Tax advisors and Army Community
Service (ACS) volunteers, many of
whom are family members of soldiers,
are in turn trained by attorneys at each
installation. Much of this training is

done in conjunction with the Internal
Revenue Service (IRS), which spon-
sors Volunteer Income Tax Assistance
(VITA) seminars at army installations
throughout the world.
Results of the 1992
Income Tax Season
The 1992 income tax season began
last January and continued through
April 15 for army installations in the
United States and through June 15 for
installations outside the United States.
During the 1992 tax season, army law-
yers, and those working under their
supervision, prepared 1991 federal
and state income tax returns and elec-
tronically filed federal returns, in ad-
dition to providing blank tax forms to
clients and answering numerous tax-
related questions for clients who pre-
pared and filed their own returns.
The following summary that ap-
pears in the box below is based on a
consolidation of all reports received
from army installations, and repre-
(Continued on page 7)
Income Tax Assistance
in  the  Arm y  ...............  1
North Carolina's Legal
Assistance Training
C ourse  ....................  2
Chair's  Column  ...........  3
Garnishment of Federal
P ay  .......................  3
LAMP Committee
A ctivities  ..................  4
Pullout Section  ...........  5

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