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Dude, Where’s my refund?

  • Published
  • By 8th Fighter Wing
  • Legal Office
Over the last two months, the Kunsan Air Base Tax Center has helped 120 customers file 160 returns, garnering more than $120,000 in income tax refunds.

Due the popularity of the Tax Center and a volunteer shortage due to preparation for the upcoming compliance inspection, we will not be able to accept any new clients before the April 17 filing deadline.

However, tax payers who would still like help from the Tax Center should file Form 4868 with the Internal Revenue Service to extend their filing deadline to June 15. Additional information about extending your tax filing deadline can be found on the IRS website at: http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc304.html.

Tax payers who prefer to file before April 17 and have basic tax returns can use the H&R Block At Home free service available through Military OneSource at: https://www.militaryonesourceeap.org/achievesolutions/en/militaryonesource/login.do.

Alternatively, Staff Sgt. Michelle Barto or Capt. Ryan Turner at the Kunsan Legal Office can advise on other available tax preparation services for tax payers who have not yet filed their 2011 income tax return. To speak with either Barto or Turner, please call 782-4283.

During the 2011 tax season, one of the most common questions taxpayers have asked is, "Why am I not getting back a larger return?" Although there are many factors that contribute to how your tax return calculates, the answer to this question usually involves the number of withholding allowances claimed by the tax payer.

Taxpayers should always try and match their withholding (money paid each month in federal taxes) to their tax liability. If not enough tax is withheld during the year, the tax payer may owe additional taxes when filing their return. This tax payment shortfall could also force the tax payer to incur interest payments and, in some cases, penalty fees.

Allowances are usually based on yourself and others in your household. The allowance calculation can be most confusing when the tax payer is single and trying to forecast the proper number of allowances. A single person who is not claimed as a dependent on another tax payer's return has two options: 1) claim one allowance or 2) choose to be exempt as long as they meet certain conditions.

In practice, if a tax payer wants a higher refund they should lower the number of claimed allowances. This will cause more tax to be withheld during the tax year. If the tax payer wants less tax withheld during the tax year, they should claim the maximum number of allowances. This will allow the tax payer to keep more of each paycheck instead of receiving a lump sum tax return after filing their return.

Inexperienced tax payers should seek financial advice before pursuing this option as they could possibly receive a tax bill instead of a refund upon filing their tax return.

Bottom line:

Higher return = lower withholding allowances = less money each paycheck
Lower return = higher withholding allowances = more money each paycheck

Military members can adjust their withholding allowances by visiting https://mypay.dfas.mil/ and clicking on the Federal Withholding link.