The taxman cometh

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Don't let the holiday festivities and Yuletide spirit lull you into the all-too-common taxpayer complacency syndrome. The only way to make your life trouble free when the taxman calls is to start getting organized today.

It's a good idea to review last year's tax return because it can help you remember the items you'll need to complete this year's return. If you can't find a copy of last year's tax return, you can request a tax return transcript from the Internal Revenue Service by mail or phone. The transcripts show most line items from the original return, including accompanying forms and schedules. However, it won't reflect any changes you or the IRS made to the original return.

To request a transcript by mail complete the Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return, and mail it to the IRS service center where you originally filed the return. To request a transcript by phone, simply call 1- 800-829-1040 and follow the automated prompt. Once you send or call in the request, allow three to four weeks for it to arrive.

Go through your checks and financial records and identify the items that are related to your tax returns. Documents and receipts that deal with charitable contributions, payments of state and local taxes, spousal support, child and dependent care providers and medical expenses are very important. If you're like many of us in Korea, you probably left those documents in the states. If so, you'll want to start contacting family members, care providers and friends to have them send you the papers today!

By federal law, employers have to furnish your Form W-2s and financial institutions have to provide your statements of dividends and interest no later than Jan. 31. But you have to make sure that your employers, banks and other organizations that will be sending you tax documents have your current mailing address.

A little preparation now can prevent a lot of frustration and delay during the tax season. Starting in January, look for information concerning the Osan Tax Program.

If you have any questions or would like to volunteer to be a unit volunteer income tax preparer, contact Tech. Sgt. Jerry Boyce at the Osan Legal Office at 784-4131.