We are in the last month of tax season and if you haven't already filed your return, chances are you have a few questions about the process. It seems like at least every other year my husband was at sea or far from home when it was time to file our taxes. I had the great fun of compiling all our tax documents and ensuring our taxes were filed.
If you find yourself having to file your taxes, either with or without your servicemember, the good news is there's help available.
Here are 3 great resources to help you file your taxes before the April 15th deadline:
- Military One Source offers H&R Block at Home® Online for free to members who are eligible. For more information visit Militaryonesource.mil
- 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.
- The military-based Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA) is also available for every step of filing your taxes. 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.
Bring the following items to the VITA site to have your tax return prepared:
- 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
- Current year's tax package, if you received one
- 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 )
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 far from home, you will need them to get a Power of Attorney granting you the authority to file your taxes.
Tax season can feel overwhelming and stressful. By using these resources, you'll be well on your way to filing your taxes before the deadline and receiving the right refund.
For more information on filing your taxes, please visit the related links below:
Keeping Track of your Tax Documents During a PCS
Income Tax Filing for Deployed Service Members PDF
VITA Tax Service - VIDEO from DoDLive.mil highlighting VITA centers for members living overseas