Tax-Time Military Tips
Tax season is here once again…..
On the positive side of everyone’s favorite topic, Military Families are fortunate to have access to an array of military-specific tax resources, so take advantage!
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Before you can start preparing your tax returns, here are the documents you’ll need to have handy:
- Military ID
- Social Security cards (for each family member claimed on the returns)
- Wage and earning statements such as a W-2, W-2G or 1099-R
- Child care cost information
- Investment income documentation
- Receipts for charitable donations
- Receipts for deductible expenses like reasonable previously un-reimbursed moving expenses
- Bank routing and account numbers for direct deposit
- Last year’s tax returns
W-2 forms for service members should be available (as of February 1) and can be downloaded from MyPay.
When can my Military Family get a filing extension?
If a member of the Armed Forces is serving outside of the U.S. (and Puerto Rico) as of April 15, 2015, they will be granted an automatic 2-month extension to file their returns. If the extended deadline of June 15, 2015 is still not enough time to prepare your returns, by filing Form 4868, you can extend an additional 4-months to file your returns by October 15, 2015.
The IRS also emphasizes that the automatic extension is an extension to file your tax return, not an extension of time to pay any tax owed by the regular due date of the return.
Combat Zone Filing Deadline Extension
Military members serving in a combat zone (currently recognized as Afghanistan, the Arabian Peninsula and the Kosovo area – learn more about combat zone tax extensions and exclusions in the Publication 3 (2014), Armed Forces’ Tax Guide) are granted an automatic 180-day extension to file, and time to pay which begins once the service member leaves the combat zone.
If the areas above have caused some burning tax-time questions to come boiling up, not to worry! Here are some resources that can help you get those questions answered quickly:
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)
VITA is an IRS-sponsored program available on most military bases and installations where IRS-trained volunteers are available to assist you with military-specific tax questions and issues you may have. To locate your location-specific tax office details, check for information available on your base’s website.
Military OneSource Offers Free H&R Block Tax Service
If you’re eligible, under the Military OneSource program, you’ll be able to complete, save and file your 2014 federal tax return and up to 3 state returns online at no cost.
Active duty Military members can receive the classic edition of TaxSlayer for free. Click here for more information.
We hope this information will act as a starting point to getting your taxes done and out of the way quickly so you can look forward to that refund coming your way!