ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --
Most people dread tax season, but not Karin Winward.
Winward, a retired Air Force senior master sergeant who has volunteered as the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Site coordinator at Robins since 2005, teaches the IRS certification course and assures all volunteers are certified in tax law and use of the IRS tax program.
Winward certified that the Site met IRS requirement for a VITA site during the 2017 Tax Season, filing all necessary forms to IRS.
“This year, we filed 1,339 federal and state tax returns, assisted 706 clients, with a low 2.5% rejection rate,” she said. “We generated $1,528,012.00 in Federal and State refunds for our Active Duty, retirees and dependents.”
And the New York native loved every second of the experience.
“I enjoy helping people with the one thing they fear, taxes, and I make it simple for them,” she said. “I also teach tax law to the volunteers, which they will use for the rest of their lives.”
Health concerns nearly halted Winward’s service at the base tax center.
“In 2006, I had a stem cell transplant that included three types of chemotherapy for seven days,” she said. “When I got home, I needed to get my self-confidence back and get over chemo brain.”
“I almost didn’t pass the tax law class,” Winward said. “It finally clicked, and I never looked back. I love helping and teaching people. And this has been to most rewarding volunteer position I have had to date.”
Her enthusiasm and dedication hasn’t gone without notice, as Winward was recently presented with the IRS Community Service Certificate of Appreciation.
Winward’s accolade came as no surprise to those who have worked with her.
Jeannie Circle, a financial Manager in the 402nd Electronic Maintenance Group, who has volunteered with Winward in many capacities at Robins Tax Center, said Winward is very deserving of her recent honor.
“Karin is very easy to work with,” she said. “She always puts in 100% effort. If there is ever a problem, she goes the extra mile to find a solution. I can’t tell you how many times we looked things up together to make sure we knew the best way to proceed.”
Capt. Nancy Nevarez-Myrick, Assistant Staff Judge Advocate and chief of Legal Assistance in Robins’ Legal Office, said as one of the most experienced tax center volunteers, Winward was a true asset to the tax center, working tirelessly to ensure that tax operations were running efficiently and clients were cared for properly.
“If there were any problems with a tax filing, Karin would come to the rescue to resolve the problems and meticulously review returns, even outside tax center hours,” she said. “Karin implemented innovative methods along the years in order to assist and improve customer satisfaction for Robins Tax Center clients.
“Her dedication to service was evident through her hard work, compassion, which were shown in the thousands of dollars in client savings, and peace of mind to many families in the filing of their taxes,” Nevarez-Myrick said.