Published Mon, Jan 28, 2013 5:56 pm Dateline
Deployed military service members who permanently reside in Ohio are eligible to receive free tax preparation assistance this tax season.
Through the Ohio Society of CPAs' Operation CPA program, about 60 certified public accountants from around the state have signed up to prepare 2012 tax returns at no cost for military personnel who are currently deployed outside of Ohio.
"We understand that tax preparation can be a huge burden on military families who are already struggling with the day to day responsibilities of managing a household while they have a family member away from home," said Jennifer Rieman, assistant manager of public relations at the Ohio Society of CPAs. "This is something we can do to say thank you to those who are protecting our country."
Deployed military service members who wish to take advantage of the Operation CPA program must contact the Ohio Society of CPAs so they can be matched with a CPA located close to their hometown. Riemer said a spouse or family member may call on the service member's behalf if they are unable to make direct contact.
"We'll ask where the service member is deployed, but don't require proof," said Riemer. "Once a service member is matched with a CPA, they will contact each other directly."
Cathy Crow, an Operation CPA volunteer based out of Meigs County, said she has prepared tax returns for several deployed military men and women through both remote and in person communication.
"A few years ago, I prepared one where the man's mother just mailed the stuff to me. Last year, I had a little girl from the Athens area that drove to meet me in Pomeroy. It was delightful," said Crow, who added that she is also willing to meet the deployed person's family member at a location that is convenient for them.
Crow said she chooses to volunteer for the program to give back to the people who serve her.
"When I say the pledge of allegiance, I say each of those words thinking of them. I sing the national anthem. I respect those people who try and save my life, so why wouldn't I do something for them or their family? It's a selfless thing to do," she said.
Operation CPA, which is also sponsored by the Ohio National Guard, has served about 400 military families since it was first launched in 2005.
Riemer said the society will continue to pair military personnel with volunteer CPAs until April.
Anyone eligible to take advantage of the program may contact the Ohio Society of CPAs at (888) 959-1212.