If you’re like most people, preparing your tax return is not high on your list of enjoyable activities. And when you’re a member of the military, tax preparation can come with some additional challenges created by various aspects of your service. Fortunately, whether a military member or veteran, you and your family have access to free support for completing your tax return, which must be filed no later than April 18, 2023:
- IRS Free File
- Military OneSource
- Face-to-face tax preparation help through VITA
Each of these options is described below. We encourage you to review all three options to help you decide what makes the most sense for your situation.
IRS Free File
This program is a public-private partnership between the IRS and tax preparation and filing software industry companies who provide their online federal tax preparation and filing for free. If your AGI (Adjusted Gross Income) is $73,000 or less in 2022, you qualify for free guided tax preparation. You simply answer a series of straightforward questions online and the software does all the work for you.
If you don’t meet the financial requirement, IRS Free File offers you access to free online forms so you can complete all the details yourself.
Learn everything there is to know about IRS Free File.
MilTax via Military OneSource
The Department of Defense provides a range of free resources for military members, veterans and their families. Included is MilTax, which offers online software to electronically file a federal tax return and up to three state tax returns for free, regardless of income. Please click to learn more about MilTax.
Do you prefer in-person help with your taxes? That’s what you’ll get with Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, or VITA. You can get advice on unique military-specific tax issues, such as combat-zone benefits, applying Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) guidelines, and more.
When you’re ready to get started on your 2022 taxes, start by searching for a VITA location near you. If you will be filing a married/joint return, be sure to make an appointment that works for you and your spouse, because both of you must be present.
To help you get the most out of your appointment, follow this handy checklist to help you pull together all the items you need to take with you:
- Your and your spouse’s valid photo IDs.
- Social Security cards for the taxpayer, spouse, and dependents, if applicable.
- Birth dates for primary and secondary earners and dependents on the tax return.
- Wage and earning statements (W-2, W-2G, and 1099-R forms) from all employers.
- Interest and dividend statements from banks (1099 forms).
- Bank routing numbers and account numbers for direct deposit of your refund.
- Statements related to mortgages and homestead expenses (or rental property expenses that include insurance and property management).
- Work-related materials and expenses that have not been reimbursed by your employer (including mileage information and vehicle maintenance).
- Documentation of donations and charitable expenses.
- Other documentation about income and expenses, such as move-related expenses that were not reimbursed; home remodeling expenses; total amount paid for day care (including the day care provider and identification number, tax ID or Social Security number); and utility costs that may be eligible for tax credits.
- Last year’s federal and state tax returns, if you have them.
3 Common Tax Questions
Filing your taxes can be confusing, so we’ve pulled together a few common questions and answers you might find helpful.
I’m a deployed service member. Do I still have to file a tax return? Yes. Fortunately, the IRS offers tools and special extensions to make filing taxes easier during deployment. Learn more.
Do I have to use VITA to handle my taxes? You can file your own taxes, if you’d prefer to. Consider using MilTax e-filing.
How long will it take to get my refund? For those who file electronically, and have the money deposited directly into their back account, the IRS expects most refunds to be issued within three weeks. To avoid delays, avoid filing a hard-copy return.
The Perfect Time to Reassess Your Family’s Finances
While you’re spending time looking closely at your financial situation during tax season, it’s also a good time to reassess your and your family’s finances and insurance needs. USBA can help. Contact one of our USBA Product Specialists at 877-297-9235. They can help answer questions about possible updates to your coverage.
USBA is a not-for-profit Association that provides group life insurance, health insurance supplements, and other products and services to military personnel, Federal employees, National Guard and Reserve members, Veterans and their families.