Military couples don’t have to spend money on tax preparation software. There are plenty of free and discounted options available for service members, military spouses and retirees.
Here is a list of military savings for tax time.
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program
Have you heard of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program? This program operates free tax preparation centers at military installations around the world. The VITA offices are open to active duty service members, including National Guard and Reserves, military dependents and retirees.
Since the Armed Forces Tax Council partners with the IRS for this program, volunteers received IRS certified training. They are ready to help military families with tax preparation and answer common tax questions at these centers.
VITA is a great option for young service members who need help filing their taxes.
If you are planning to e-file your taxes at a VITA office, bring the following documents to your appointment:
- Valid photo identification
- Social Security cards for you, your spouse and dependents.
- Birth dates for you, your spouse and dependents
- Your wage and earning forms, such as Forms W-2, W-2G, and 1099-R.
- Interest and dividend statements (Forms 1099).
- A copy of your last year’s federal and state tax returns, if available.
- Routing and account numbers for direct deposit of your tax refund.
- Total amount you paid for day care and the day care provider’s identifying number. This is usually an Employer Identification Number or Social Security number.
- Other relevant information about your income and expenses.
If you are married and filing a joint return, both of you need to sign the return.
What if my service member is on deployment?
If your service member is on deployment, you have a few options. If there’s a VITA site at their location, they can e-file their taxes there.
If you, as the military spouse, plan to file a joint return, bring a valid power of attorney when doing your taxes. The IRS recommends using Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative when completing your taxes.
If your service member is in a combat zone, the military spouse can file a joint return with “a signed statement explaining that the other spouse is in a combat zone and unable to sign,” according to the IRS.
Click here to see the list of Volunteer Income Tax Assistance offices around the world.
“MilTax” Software Available Through Military OneSource
If you feel confident that you can complete your taxes online, consider e-filing using Military OneSource’s free filing service, MilTax. This service allows military members to complete and electronically file federal and up to 3 state tax returns, according to Military OneSource.
If you have questions about this tax service or about your own tax returns, please call 1-800-342-9647 and ask to speak with a Military OneSource tax counselor. Trained tax counselors are available 7 days a week from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., EST. For online assistance with questions about deductions, exemptions and filing deadlines, send inquiries to TaxQuestions@militaryonesource.com.
This service is available to active duty, National Guard and Reserve, and spouses. Users must create a free account with Military OneService before taking advantage of this military savings.
TurboTax Military Edition Software
Active duty and reservists, who are USAA members, can get TurboTax Deluxe Online Federal for free. All USAA members can save up to $20 on TurboTax federal products.
Visit USAA’s website for more information the TurboTax Military Edition Software.