Base Logo
Official U.S. Marine Corps Website
Crossroads of the Marine Corps
Photo Information

The Marine Corps Base Quantico Volunteer Income Tax Assistance center is free for active duty and retired Marines and their immediate families.

Photo by File photo

Save money and stress by having taxes prepared at the Quantico Tax Center

25 Feb 2016 | Adele Uphaus-Conner Marine Corps Base Quantico

You might spend $150 to $500 to hire someone to do your taxes at a commercial tax preparation center. At the Marine Corps Base Quantico Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) center, this service is free for active duty and retired Marines and their immediate families.

The center opened on Jan. 25 and will close on April 15. Fifteen enlisted Marines and two officers arrived in mid-December from units throughout the Corps to be trained and certified as tax preparers. Five are reservists called into active duty.

According to Capt. Andres Vasquez, officer in charge of the tax center and an attorney in the Legal Assistance Office, last year the Quantico center generated $3,381,967 in refunds. It electronically filed 1,233 federal and 867 state returns and paper-filed 55 federal and 296 state returns.

“We also had a 6.2 percent final error rate, which is below the average for all military VITA tax sites,” Vasquez said.

Tax season is a time of year many dread.

“It’s the unknown,” Vasquez said. “People don’t want to mess up. And anything that has to do with money is intimidating.”

The tax center can ease some of the burden. They are able to file all federal and state tax returns within their certification (a list of returns that are outside the office’s scope of services can be seen at The center sees clients on a walk-in basis only. All clients need to bring their military ID, social security card, all tax documents and their tax return for the previous year.

Returns are prepared and filed in one day, Vasquez said, using the IRS software TaxWise. Returns usually take as little as 30 minutes and no more than two hours. After returns are prepared, they are reviewed by a staff noncommissioned officer and submitted.

Vasquez said that there are clients who return to the Quantico tax center year after year, many of them retirees who live in the area.

“We’re happy to be able to help elderly retirees because they can be taken advantage of so easily,” he said. “And service members can miss out on their best refunds by not knowing the rules.”

One issue Vasquez sees often is a service member owing a lot of money after filing his or her first return after retirement. The service member may be working in a civilian job but is also receiving a military pension and is most likely only being taxed on one source of income.

“That’s a shocker to a lot of people,” Vasquez said. “Unfortunately there’s nothing we can do to help at that point.” He recommends that the service member make sure to adjust the withholding amount he or she requests on the W4 tax form for the new job to avoid being hit with a big bill at tax time.

Vasquez also advises people to come in to have their taxes prepared as soon as they have all the necessary documents, rather than waiting until closer to the April 15 deadline.

“That’s not just to avoid lines at the center but also to make sure that no one else files taxes under your name and social security number,” he explained.

He said that he sees this happen about 10 times a year. In this situation, the person would have to file a paper return that year and the IRS would work on resolving the issue.

“We see it all here,” Vasquez said. “It’s crazy. But in most cases, things are very cut and dry.”

The Marines who work in the tax center each year may never have imagined they’d be doing people’s taxes, but they gain valuable experience.

“They will never need to hire someone else to do their taxes,” Vasquez said. “They really build camaraderie while they are here.”

Those wishing to use the center should go to the Marine Corps Base Quantico Tax Center website and fill out the Pre-Filing checklist and the Client Intake Form. Prospective clients can contact the Tax Center at 703-784-3976.

— Writer:

Marine Corps Base Quantico