Free Tax Preparation for Military

Taxes

Tax season is here again. And while filing for tax returns can be tricky for the average family, it can get even more complicated for military families. 

Thankfully, military personnel and their families have access to a variety of tax preparation and filing services for free. Whether you choose to file taxes yourself online or you prefer some outside assistance from a trained professional, there are a variety of free options to choose from.

(Please check back as we add more discounts to the list.)

Military Installation Tax Centers

Most large military installations worldwide offer servicemembers and their families free income tax filing assistance through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program which is sponsored by the IRS. VITA sites have volunteers that are trained by the IRS to provide assistance with some of the more complicated military-specific tax issues, such as combat zone tax benefits.

Click here to contact your local installation for more information about location of tax centers, hours of operation, scheduling appointments, and necessary documentation.

Off-Base Services

From February 17-23, 2014, participating locations of Liberty Tax Service are offering free tax preparation to veterans and active duty as part of their Military Appreciation Days.

Liberty Tax Service is also offering Military.com members a new customer discount of $35 off income tax preparation. Click here to print out the coupon and take it to participating Liberty offices with a valid military ID.

Jackson Hewitt is offering Veterans Advantage members $30 off the filing fees of your next tax return or $50 off last year's preparation fee with another service, if you switch to Jackson Hewitt for this year's tax preparation. 

Online Tax Preparation

Military OneSource provides free access to the H&R Block at Home online tax filing service for military families. This service allows military members to complete and electronically file federal and up to 3 state tax returns. This is available for active duty servicemembers, National Guard and Reserve, and spouses. You must have a Military OneSource account. 

IRS Free File is a program available to taxpayers whose Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) is $57,000 or less. This program helps you find a Free File company that’s best for you out of the numerous companies that participate and offers fillable forms when preparing your own tax returns. 

TaxSlayer has a free military edition for active duty servicembers to prepare federal and state returns online.

TurboTax offers discounts on its software that’s customized for active duty military and reservists. Servicemembers with pay grades of E1-E5 can get the software for free, while pay grades of E6 through all officer pay grades can get the software at a discounted price.

Taxbrain offers a 20% military discount when filing your tax return. Be aware the package price varies depending on answers to their questionnaire. 

Necessary Documents

Filing your taxes requires a lot of documents and personal information so make sure to collect everything you’ll need before you get started. The following is a list of some of those necessary records, but if you’re getting outside help, it’s best to call ahead to make sure you’re not forgetting anything.

  • Photo ID/Military ID
  • Social security cards for you and each family member claimed on the return
  • Wage and earning statement(s), such as Forms W-2, W-2G, and 1099-R
  • Child care costs
  • Investment income forms
  • Receipts for charitable donations
  • Receipts for deductible expenses
  • Your bank routing numbers and account numbers for direct deposit
  • Last year’s returns

W-2 forms are usually available for military members by the end of January and can be downloaded from MyPay website.

-- Heather Sweeney can be reached at Heather.Sweeney@monster.com.

Click here for a list of more Military.com articles about discounts. 

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