Last Minute Tax Preparation – 3 Things to Remember

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Haven’t filed your taxes yet? There is still plenty of time to do so and as military families; we know that we often face special circumstances with our taxes. If you don’t know where to start and are in need of some guidance, here are 3 things to remember before filing your taxes.

 

 1. Timing is Everything

 

Federal income taxes need to be filed no later than April 17, 2018, unless you qualify for an extension such as the Combat zone and hazardous duty extensions. If you or your spouse are serving in a combat zone or are receiving hostile fire or imminent danger pay, the deadline for filing income taxes is 180 days after your last day in the combat zone or hazardous duty area. The IRS has a list available of the combat zones. So make sure you have everything you need and make those appointments in time.

 

 2. Is your Service Member deployed? Your Legal Office Can Help!

 

Did you forget to get a special power of attorney in order to file your taxes? Don’t worry! Your base legal office can help. They provide not only services to prepare a special power of attorney, but many other tax services as well. First thing you will need to do is find your legal office on a nearby military installation. Using the Armed Forces Legal Assistance website, enter your zip code and the distance you are willing to travel, you will find the locations of the nearest legal offices near you.

 

You will want to call ahead to ensure hours of operation and determine if you need an appointment, most of these services are available at legal assistance offices: 

  • Wills, testamentary trusts, and estate planning
  • Domestic relations, including divorce, legal separation, annulment, custody, and paternity
  • Adoption and name changes
  • Taxes, including basic advice and assistance on Federal, State, and local taxes <--- see below for more details on this!
  • Landlord-tenant relations, including review of personal leases and communication and correspondence
  • Service members Civil Relief Act advice and assistance

Once you find your office and have called to schedule an appointment, don’t forget to ask them what documents to bring with you; you wouldn’t want to make a wasted trip!

 

3. Help Filing Your Taxes

If you need help getting your taxes filed, your legal office has a Voluntary Income Tax Assistance program (VITA) that can help. Make sure to call and check with your legal center to see if this service is available at your installation. The VITA will help you file your taxes free of charge, but you will want to make sure to go as early in the day as possible in order to avoid long lines. If you have decided to go to a private tax preparer, make sure they are familiar filing returns for service members and their dependents. Or you can always file your taxes yourself for free using the Military One Source website. I personally have been using this service for years and it works great for me and my family’s needs.

 

What You Need to Bring

 

A tax professional will let you know what to bring, but be sure to keep the following at hand and ready when filing:

 

  • Military ID
  • All W-2 and 1099 forms
  • Social Security cards for all family members
  • Deductions and credit information (Mortgage interest form if you own a home)
  • Bank account and routing numbers
  • Receipts for child care expenses
  • Last year's tax return
  • Special power of attorney authorizing you to do business on behalf of the deployed service member. If you don’t have this, call that legal office!

Have you filed your taxes for this year? Have you ever used your installation legal office? Share your thoughts below.

 

Related Posts:

What the New Tax Bill Means for You

Tax Reform and Your Health Care

 

About the blogger: Angela Caban is an Army National Guard spouse, published author and branding expert. In 2010, she founded the Homefront United Network, a military spouse and family support blog created to assist spouses who do not live near an installation, but also focusing on bridging the gap between National Guard, Reserve and Active Duty spouses. She has an extensive background in Human Resources and Communications, with her Bachelor’s in Business Administration and a Master’s in Human Resources. Angela resides in the beautiful Garden State of New Jersey with her husband and two children.