JessicaLeigh
Occasional Contributor

Tax season is underway once more. While filing taxes can be a daunting task with ever changing tax laws it can be especially challenging for military service members who have even more unique rules that apply to them. Fortunately, there is an abundance of helpful information found through various government related resources that military members can take advantage of. According to irs.gov if you received nontaxable bonus payments in an earlier year and reported them as taxable income, you may be able to amend your return for that year to claim a refund of the tax you paid on the bonus payment. Which tax tips specific to the military have you found to be the most helpful?

10 REPLIES

Best tax tip I have for military is to take advantage of the free services in your unit or on your installation. Too many young Soldiers pay to have someone do a simple return that takes no more than 10 minutes. For more complex stuff, there is is free help also!
This is where I go for my tax info: http://www.libertytax.com/Content.aspx?id=1081&terms=military They have never given me bad advice.
I agree with the above post, but in some situations you must seek paid services. I trade frequently to supplement my income and my brokerage sheets can be lengthy. When I was on HAAF I tried this, but was told no one knew how to do the required paperwork. I was forced to either do it myself and gamble or take it to a professional.
Have you ever heard the term you get what you pay for? Well FREE Tax service thru the military isnt always good. They only know the basics. If you have homes Ira's, investments, etc.. Theyre not Educated or Equip to handle that. If you have taxes from another state they cant handle that as well. So sometimes paying a little extra for peace of mind and if you get Audit is well worth the money. I know from exsperience FSH. Cant do the complicated taxes.
Highlighted
I am a paid, seasonal tax preparer. My advice is to do it yourself, unless you get outside your comfort zone. If you go to a paid preparer, be sure and ask for someone that is experienced in the more complex components of your return, such as stocks and bonds, rentals, etc. Don't go during "peak" or you run the risk of getting the next person available instead of the professional that is best suited for your return. Not all preparers are qualified to do more complicated returns., I have been doing paid returns for six years and have prepared my own for decades.
For full transparancy, I work for Intuit, maker of Turbo Tax. Yet, I think it is very important to spread the word about two very important programs for military members. First, many military folks qualify for free tax software (http://turbotax.intuit.com/taxfreedom/) through Intuit's free file efforts. There are other free file option as well on IRS.gov. Second, Intuit is offering free tax advice this year and it's great. Use it. I am a veteran, long term USAA member, military academy graduate and user of the products I suggest. USAA members, thank you for your service and sacrifice. USAA, thank you for the service you provide to those who serve. CG91, Member since 1987.
I believe if you have served in a combat zone, risking your life and limbs, witness to the birth of heros. I strongly feel that..."YOU should NEVER be required to pay ANY gov't taxes, EVER!!!"
most military installations have VITA tax services which are free all military members and run by all volunteers and they attend a training program sponsored by the IRS. i am one such volunteer and have enjoyed it a lot.
If you have not already done your taxes and you need help I am a paid tax professional too and I can answer your questions.