The Tualatin VFW offers a free tax preparation day to military families
By Janie Nafsinger
TUALATIN â€” War or no war, Americans still have to pay their taxes.
But the families of service men and women deployed to the Middle East have enough on their minds these days without thinking about filing their tax returns.
So members of Tualatin Post 3452 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars stepped in Saturday, March 15, to sponsor a free income tax preparation service at Tualatinâ€™s VFW Patriot Hall for families of deployed troops.
â€œThey know theyâ€™ve got to do their taxes, but theyâ€™re stressed out about war,â€ Potts said.
â€œWeâ€™re not for or against the war â€“ weâ€™re supporting our troops. A lot of us went through Vietnam, and it was terrible how the troops were treated,â€ added Potts, who entered the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War and remained in the Navy Reserve until retiring in 1996.
Four tax preparers volunteered their services for five hours Saturday and prepared tax returns for 12 families who either made appointments or dropped by Patriot Hall. One preparer stayed an extra hour to complete a complicated tax return.
The first person who arrived, Potts said, was a mother who brought tax papers for her son, who is on his way to the Middle East from Fort Carson, Colo.
The next two customers were female soldiers who recently returned from duty in Egypt. One of them, Angel Smith of Beaverton, is a National Guard staff sergeant who used to work for the Tualatin Police Department.
â€œItâ€™s kind of complicated this year,â€ Smith said of her tax return forms. â€œSo far Iâ€™m just sitting here, and heâ€™s doing all the work,â€ she added with a grin, referring to Brian Wozniak of Vancouver, Wash., as he punched numbers into a computer. Wozniak is a senior tax specialist for the Internal Revenue Service.
Wives from as far away as Salem and Hillsboro also showed up with their tax forms, several of them bringing babies and small children with them. They included Danielle Baca of Dundee, whose husband, Bob, an engineering officer with an infantry unit, is at Fort Carson and expects to be in Kuwait in two or four weeks.
â€œWe usually go to H&R Block,â€ Baca said, noting that the only tax complication she faced so far was not having all of her husbandâ€™s personal identification numbers immediately available because of his absence.
The free tax service also was offered Saturday at the Gresham Armory.
The Tualatin VFW plans to offer the tax preparation service again next year, Potts said.
Thatâ€™s not all the VFW is offering. Post members also have joined the Oregon Trail Chapter of the Korean War Veterans Association to adopt three Oregon military units â€“ a Marine unit and two National Guard units â€“ that have been deployed to the Middle East, Potts said.
The Tualatin VFW will ask the city of Tualatin at Monday nightâ€™s council meeting to adopt one of the units, the 671st Engineer Company of the U.S. Army Reserves, located in North Portland. The 671st lists two Tualatin residents among its 187 members, according to Potts.
Volunteers will assemble care packages and send them to the adopted troops. They also will offer other support to help dependents here at home, Potts said.
â€œThe effort is just getting started,â€ he added.