Here's a look at the laws that could wage a multipronged attack on your wallet and what you can do to prepare.
Military members and their families can file their taxes for free starting Jan. 16, 2006. The Military OneSource has partnered up with Intuit, a financial services company, to provide the TurboTax basic product for Federal and State returns at no cost. Members can download this program and also benefit from tax consultations and have access to appropriate resources. The Military OneSource website will provide annual upgrades to the TurboTax software at no cost.
"This tax consultant support for filing 2006 taxes is available telephonically toll-free and at no cost to the servicemembers from any deployment location in the world," said the acting Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy Jane Burke. The Military OneSource tax consultants are also familiar with the IRS publication Armed Forces "Tax Guide."
According to Burke, the Department has a long history of offering tax assistance to military members, but this year the Department is offering the opportunity for servicemembers to self-file electronically at no cost, using a popular software product that double checks for accuracy.
"For many years, help has been available at many installations through the Voluntary Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. VITA volunteers will continue to be available through the legal centers at most installations. VITA volunteers help servicemembers to file their taxes free of charge," said Burke.
Department of Defense (DoD) personnel noticed the need for a tax filing system that met military members' needs. TurboTax modifies itself based on the customer's information relevant to their unique tax situation. Providing an easier way to file taxes is just one example of the Military's effort to improve servicemembers' quality of life.
"DoD recognizes the reciprocal relationship that binds the military member, the military mission, and military families. The Department is working hard to make a difference in the quality of life of Service members and their families. The Military OneSource program, available worldwide 24/7, leverages technology to help servicemembers and their families deal with the stresses of the military lifestyle. Providing access to electronic tax filing with the free telephonic support of a tax consultant is just one of the services offered by the Military OneSource service," said Burke.
TurboTax customers can expect to see a new and improved way of filing their taxes as well. The easy-to-understand language allows users to feel more confident about the information they receive. Users can also click on "Explain This" button within the TurboTax website to get relevant help. TurboTax also includes timesaving summary screens, allowing users to quickly review and edit their data.
"The Department is proud to offer innovative options, like free electronic access to Turbo Tax and telephonic support, for addressing the challenges that military members and their dependents face. The Department of Defense recognizes that families also serve and is committed to supporting military families," said Burke.
Sailors can download the TurboTax program through the Military OneSource website at www.militaryonesource.com or call 1-800-342-9647 for help.
The Military OneSource site will also link members of the Armed Forces to the myPay web site at https://mypay.dfas.mil to view and print their W-2 form.
Let's face it -- the American tax system isn't known for its simplicity. And the confusion factor just climbs higher when you lived or worked in more than one state during the year.
Servicemembers who recently enrolled in continuing education programs or signed up for skills building classes, have several government reimbursement programs and income tax benefits that can help ... more
To deduct moving expenses, you generally must meet certain time and distance tests. However, if you are on active duty and you move because of a PCS, you do not have to meet these tests.