Its tax time again and I have come up with some discounts, tips and tricks for making tax time a little smoother this year.
**Please note, I am not in any way a tax expert. Make sure you speak with a tax professional or do the appropriate research before filing your return**
On Base Tax Preparation:
Most major military bases have a VITA office. VITA stands for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance. The volunteers at the military offices are trained in military specific tax issues like non-taxable income, tax-free zones, and tax deadline extensions for military members. Their work is usually signed off of by a CPA before it is filed. For more details, contact your local base or Fleet and Family.
Military Discounts on Tax Preparation Software for Simple Returns:
Turbo Tax: Free Federal and State for E-1 to E-5. $24.99 for Federal and $36.99 for State for E-6 to E-10 and Officer.
Military OneSource: Free Federal and 3 State returns through H&R Block Basic online tool.
TaxSlayer.com: Free Federal and State returns for Active Duty.
Military Tax Deductions:
- Intrest paid on student loans is tax deductible. See your 1098-E form from your loan provider.
- Interest paid on mortgage.
- Income while serving in an combat zone. See your W-2.
- Moving Expenses can be deducted.
- Uniform and Maintenance fees are deductible if your base/command restricst wearing while off duty and price/maintancne costs exceeds your uniform allowance. You can deduct the excess costs.
- Guard and Reserve travel expenses.
- Earned Income Tax Credit may be applicable. See here for more details.
- If you use a tax preparer, make sure it is someone who is familiar with military income tax. We have unique issues like out of state residency, tax free zones, combat zones, bonus, etc. If you use software, be sure to pick one that offers a military option.
- Have a Power of Attorney if your spouse is going to be deployed during tax time. While military personnel have the option of an 60-180 day extension, you still need to inform the IRS to file for the extension. And many people would rather not wait for their return so having an updated Power of Attorney allows you to get your return on time.