2012 VOLUNTEER INCOME TAX ASSISTANCE (VITA) ELECTRONIC TAX FILING (ELF) PROGRAM AND TRANSITION TO INCONUS SELF-SERVICE POLICY

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R 231346Z NOV 11 PSN 309368K29

FM CNO WASHINGTON DC

TO NAVADMIN
ZEN//OU=DOD/OU=NAVY/OU=ADDRESS LISTS(UC)/CN=AL NAVADMIN(UC)

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SUBJ: 2012 VOLUNTEER INCOME TAX ASSISTANCE (VITA)/ELECTRONIC TAX FILI NG (ELF) 
PROGRAM AND TRANSITION TO INCONUS SELF-SERVICE POLICY// UNCLASSIFIED/ FM CNO 
WASHINGTON DC//DNS// TO NAVADMIN INFO/CNO WASHINGTON DC//DNS// UNCLAS 

NAVADMIN 357/11

MSGID/GENADMIN/CNO WASHINGTON DC/DNS/NOV//

SUBJ/2012 VOLUNTEER INCOME TAX ASSISTANCE (VITA)/ELECTRONIC TAX FILING (ELF) 
PROGRAM AND TRANSITION TO INCONUS SELF-SERVICE POLICY//



REF/A/MSG/CNO/281544Z DEC 10//

AMPN/REF A IS NAVADMIN 415/10//
POC/KURODA/LT/OJAG 16/JAG/TEL: (202) 685-4641/DSN: 325-4641//

RMKS/1. THIS NAVADMIN PROVIDES 2012 VOLUNTEER INCOME TAX ASSISTANCE 
(VITA)/ELECTRONIC TAX FILING (ELF) PROGRAM INFORMATION AND NOTICE OF 
TRANSITION TO SELF-SERVICE TAX FILING AT INCONUS AND HAWAII TAX CENTERS. THIS 
MESSAGE SUPERSEDES REF A.

2. DURING 2011, VOLUNTEERS WITH THE NAVY VITA/ELF PROGRAM FILED MORE THAN 
58,000 FEDERAL AND STATE TAX RETURNS, SAVING SERVICE MEMBERS AND THEIR 
FAMILIES MORE THAN $6.9 MILLION IN COMMERCIAL TAX PREPARATION FEES, AND 
PROVIDING OVER $75 MILLION IN EXPEDITED FEDERAL INCOME TAX REFUNDS. AS PART OF 
THIS EFFORT, CERTAIN NAVAL LEGAL SERVICE OFFICES (NLSO) ASSISTED THOUSANDS OF 
SERVICE MEMBERS AND DEPENDENTS IN PROCESSING THEIR RETURNS THROUGH A SELF-
SERVICE PILOT PROGRAM.  GIVEN THE SUCCESS OF THIS PILOT, NAVY WILL EXPAND THE 
SELF-SERVICE TAX PREPARATION PROGRAM IN 2012 TO ALL CONUS AND HAWAII NLSO TAX 
CENTERS.

3. THE VITA/ELF PROGRAM IMPROVES BOTH MORALE AND READINESS BY REDUCING THE 
EFFORT AND COST INVOLVED IN MEETING FEDERAL AND STATE TAX OBLIGATIONS.
A. VITA KEEPS MONEY IN SAILORS POCKETS. COMMERCIAL TAX PREPARERS MAY CHARGE 
OVER $170 FOR THE AVERAGE ELECTRONICALLY-FILED RETURN.
VITA/ELF VOLUNTEERS ASSIST SAILORS AND THEIR FAMILIES IN FILING THEIR RETURNS 
AT NO COST.
B. FASTER REFUNDS. PAPER RETURNS MAY TAKE EIGHT OR MORE WEEKS TO PROCESS IN 
CONUS, AND EVEN LONGER IF SUBMITTED OVERSEAS OR WHILE DEPLOYED.  BY USING 
VITA/ELF, REFUNDS ARE DEPOSITED DIRECTLY INTO A SAILOR'S BANK ACCOUNT ON AN 
AVERAGE OF TWO WEEKS FROM THE DATE OF TRANSMISSION, EVEN FROM OVERSEAS AND 
AFLOAT COMMANDS. SPEEDY REFUNDS REDUCE THE NEED FOR REFUND ANTICIPATION LOANS, 
WHICH HAVE HIGH INTEREST RATES AND FEES EVEN WHEN IN COMPLIANCE WITH DOD 
PREDATORY LENDING LIMITATIONS.
C. FEWER MISTAKES. VITA/ELF RETURNS ARE VERY ACCURATE, AVERAGING LESS THAN A 
ONE PERCENT ERROR RATE COMPARED TO 15 PERCENT FOR PAPER RETURNS.

4. SELF-SERVICE TAX PREPARATION IS AN EFFECTIVE AND EFFICIENT WAY BY WHICH WE 
WILL CONTINUE TO ASSIST SERVICE MEMBERS AND THEIR FAMILIES IN PREPARING THEIR 
TAXES.
A. UNDER SELF-SERVICE, SAILORS AND THEIR FAMILIES FILE THEIR OWN TAX RETURNS 
USING FREE TAX FILING SOFTWARE ON COMPUTERS ESTABLISHED IN NAVY TAX CENTERS.
B. TRAINED VOLUNTEERS. NAVY VOLUNTEERS WILL CONTINUE TO BE TRAINED BY THE IRS 
AND STAFF TAX CENTERS TO ASSIST SAILORS AND DEPENDENTS WITH TAX FILING AS 
NECESSARY.
C. SPEEDY REFUNDS. TAXES ARE SUBMITTED ELECTRONICALLY, AND REFUNDS ARE 
DEPOSITED DIRECTLY INTO A SAILOR'S BANK ACCOUNT ON AN AVERAGE OF TWO WEEKS 
FROM THE DATE OF TRANSMISSION.
D. EFFICIENT USE OF MANPOWER. SELF-SERVICE TAX ASSISTANCE REQUIRES 50 PERCENT 
LESS STAFFING THAN FULL SERVICE VITA/ELF AS VOLUNTEERS ARE ABLE TO ASSIST FOUR 
OR FIVE CUSTOMERS SIMULTANEOUSLY.
E. EDUCATIONAL TOOL. SELF-SERVICE TAX PREPARATION HELPS EDUCATE SAILORS AND 
DEPENDENTS IN PREPARING THEIR OWN TAX RETURNS, THEREBY PROMOTING SELF-RELIANCE 
AND FINANCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY.
F. SELF-SERVICE TAX PREPARATION WILL BE OFFERED AT NLSO TAX  ASSISTANCE 
CENTERS IN CONUS AND IN HAWAII, WITH EXCEPTIONS MADE FOR CUSTOMERS UNABLE TO 
USE THE SELF-SERVICE CENTERS DUE TO DISABILITY.
G. FULL-SERVICE VITA/ELF ASSISTANCE WILL CONTINUE AT OCONUS TAX CENTERS, GIVEN 
REDUCED COMMERCIAL TAX FILING ALTERNATIVES AND REDUCED ACCESS TO TIMELY EXPERT 
TAX ADVICE.

5. PAST TAX SEASONS HAVE DEMONSTRATED THAT THE SUCCESS OF TAX PREPARATION 
PROGRAMS DEPENDS ON SUPPORT FROM LOCAL COMMANDS.  WHILE THE LOCAL NLSO, STAFF 
JUDGE ADVOCATE, OR COMMAND TAX REPRESENTATIVE WILL MANAGE TAX ASSISTANCE 
CENTERS, THESE CENTERS DEPEND ON LOCAL COMMANDS FOR PERSONNEL, EQUIPMENT, AND 
FACILITIES. COMMANDS MUST ALSO ENSURE THAT JUNIOR SAILORS ARE AWARE OF THEIR 
RESPONSIBILITY TO FILE TAX RETURNS AND THAT FREE NAVY SERVICES ARE AVAILABLE 
TO ASSIST THEM.

6. SUFFICIENT MANPOWER IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS. THE SUPPORT OF EVERY COMMAND IS 
NECESSARY, TO INCLUDE SENDING SAILORS ON TEMPORARY ADDITIONAL DUTY (TAD) 
ORDERS FOR TRAINING AS VITA VOLUNTEERS AND ALLOWING THEM TO WORK FULL OR PART-
TIME AT TAX CENTERS DURING THE TAX SEASON. SUPPORT IS ESPECIALLY CRITICAL 
DURING FEBRUARY, THE PEAK FILING TIME. EVERY FULL-TIME VITA VOLUNTEER RETURNS 
TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS FOR SAILORS AND THEIR FAMILIES. THOSE WHO DESIRE 
TO VOLUNTEER AT A TAX ASSISTANCE CENTER SHOULD CONTACT THEIR LOCAL NLSO OR LT 
KURODA AT THE OFFICE OF THE JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL.
COMMANDS INTERESTED IN SETTING UP THEIR OWN VITA/ELF PROGRAM SHOULD ALSO 
CONTACT LT KURODA AT THE OFFICE OF THE JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL (CODE 16) AT 
(202) 685-4641 (DSN: 325-4641) OR JANELLE.KURODA@NAVY.MIL.


7. THE VITA/ELF AND SELF-SERVICE TAX PREPARATION PROGRAMS REMAIN EXTREMELY 
IMPORTANT, AND WITH YOUR SUPPORT, WE CAN CONTINUE THIS VALUABLE QUALITY OF 
LIFE BENEFIT FOR OUR SAILORS AND THEIR FAMILIES.

8. RELEASED BY VICE ADMIRAL J. M. BIRD, DIRECTOR, NAVY STAFF.//

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