Tax Season Tips for Military Families
We are officially in the 2023 tax season. Earlier this year, the Internal Revenue Service announced that the agency will accept and process 2022 tax returns starting January 23 through April 18, 2023.
So, what can military families do to streamline this process? We’ve assembled a list of tips that can serve as an operational order for coordinated tax filing.
Prepare and Research
First, take time to review information specific to military families and your tax situation. The IRS Tax Information for Members of the Military contains short articles highlighting military-specific issues such as combat pay, credit for child and dependent care expenses, filing deadline extensions for deployed service members, and tax laws that provide unique benefits to service members.
Second, gather those tax documents. You should have your family’s personal information, such as Social Security numbers, W2 form(s) from each employer you worked for over the last year, retirement account contributions, and any additional forms that may be related to home ownership or self-employment. If your service member is deployed, make sure your Power of Attorney (POA) is up to date, and you have access to the MyPay portal, so you’ll be able to access their W2 form.
Third, check to see if in-person tax assistance is just around the corner. A military-focused benefit during tax season is one that is provided on CONUS and OCONUS military installations. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) consultants assist with free tax advice, tax preparation, return filing, and much more.
Remember, knowledge is power, and it is important to vet your research and any consultants.
Choose a Filing Method
After gathering your tax documents and reviewing your research, it is time to file. The IRS encourages taxpayers to file electronically if possible and avoid a paper return, since it could take several weeks to process.
Here is a list of military-friendly tax assistance and filing providers:
- MilTax is a tax assistance and filing suite designed by Military OneSource with military families in mind. It is available for active duty, retired, guard and reserve service members, as well as dependent children.
- TurboTax offers enlisted rank service members free electronic filing for federal and state tax.
- TaxAct has free electronic federal and state filing services for all active duty military, regardless of rank.
All three services offer personalized support from tax consultants, including phone support. MilTax and TurboTax also provide live chat support.
Do you think your family’s tax filing is more robust than most? Hiring a tax professional might be the best route. There are different types of tax preparation services, and fees can vary greatly from $220 to several thousand dollars. Often the best way to find a tax professional is through word of mouth—asking friends and family for a referral. Make sure you do your due diligence before hiring a tax professional: check their credentials, ask what experience they have with military clients and/or clients with your particular tax situation, how the fee is determined, who will be preparing your return and how your questions will be handled, and how any problems that might arise will be addressed.
Tax season can be a whirlwind, but if you’re prepared and equipped with your documents and up-to-date military tax benefits, you’re in great shape.
By: Angela Sablan Tenorio, Content Manager