Tax Filing Tips for Military Families

We are in the final days before the April 15 tax filing deadline. If you haven’t filed your return, you may have some questions about the process. Take some time to organize your documents before you sit down to file your taxes. If you find yourself having to file your taxes, either with or without your service member, the good news is there's help available.

Here are three great resources to help you file your taxes: 

  1. Military OneSource offers H&R Block at Home® Online for free to military families who are eligible. For more information visit their website
  2. Many installation legal offices operate a free tax clinic from early January to mid-April, preparing and filing federal and state tax returns for eligible persons. Visit the Armed Forces Legal Assistance Services locator to search for one in your area. 
  3. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA) also provides free tax filing assistance. VITA sites are located on military installations and across the nation. They provide free tax advice and preparation, and return filing for military members and their families who are eligible. Check with your base Family Support Center for the location of the VITA tax specialists on your installation or visit the IRS website for a VITA location in your community.

If you use an installation tax clinic, or VITA service, it may be helpful to bring the following items with you to help prepare your tax return: 

  • Photo identification 
  • Social Security cards for the taxpayer, his or her spouse, and dependents, if applicable 
  • Birth dates for primary and secondary earners and dependents on the tax return 
  • Wage and earning statements (W-2, W-2G, and 1099-R forms) from all employers 
  • Interest and dividend statements from banks (1099 forms) 
  • A copy of last year's federal and state returns if available 
  • Bank routing numbers and account numbers for direct deposit 
  • Other relevant information about income and expenses (total amount paid for day care, day care provider identifying number [tax ID or Social Security number])

To file taxes electronically on a married filing jointly tax return, both spouses must be present to sign the required forms. If your spouse is away from home, you will need a Power of Attorney granting you the authority to file your taxes. If your service member is serving in a combat zone, you may be able to file your taxes at a later date. If you have additional questions about military service and taxes, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has a dedicated webpage just for you – Tax Information for Members of the Military.

Tax season can feel overwhelming and stressful. Use some of the military resources listed above to help you have a successful tax filing season.

 

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