Top 4 Military Tax Resources Tax Preparation Companies are hiding

January 3, 2014 at 5:08 pm  •  Posted in Featured, Financial, Taxes by

Let’s face it, Military Taxes can be a pain!

From Combat Zone Tax Exclusions (CZTE), taxable and non-taxable pay, and the challenge of understanding legal residency while on orders to another state or country, Taxes can be extremely complicated as a military member.

So, our first post of the New Year aims to help you get your military taxes done quickly, and correctly(and perhaps with a little extra in your refund), so you can move on to the more important things in life.

2014 Military Taxes To Do List

As you know, U.S. Military Personnel and their families are frequent targets of useless marketing schemes, especially around tax time.

What’s even more frustrating is this:

The Tax Preparation Marketers know
[tweetable]You have access to FREE Tax Prepration and Filing Benefits thanks to your military affiliation![/tweetable]
(Click to Tweet)

That’s where we come in… you can ignore all of these marketing ploys with just a little bit of education and resourcefulness…

We’ve put together a list of Military Tax Resources and Tips to help you get your military taxes done quickly, and correctly at no cost to you.

Be sure share the list with your friends! :-)

The Top 4 Military Tax Resources that Tax Preparation Companies don’t want you to know about:

4. The Navy Legal Assistance Office

Especially around tax time, questions about Sailors’ / Spouse’s Legal Residence, withholding status, and changes in marital status (including same-sex marital status recognition) or child custody can dramatically affect your tax filing.

A Navy JAG Officer hands documents to a Sailor

As a result, military service members have the opportunity to seek free, confidential advice from Military Legal Assistance Offices.  See the below links for more information:

3. Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Office

If you’ve spent any time on a military base in the beginning of the year, you’ve likely heard about the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. These are volunteers who provide basic tax filing assistance to Active Duty members and their families.

Note: These assistants may not be educated tax professionals. For complex tax questions, consider the additional options below or consult a Registered Tax Return Preparer (RTRP)

Machinist’s Mate 3rd Class Jason Roxey, a VITA Tax Center volunteer, looks over tax documents for Machinist’s Mate 3rd Class James Womack as he fills out a tax form at Joint Base Charleston-Weapons Station, Feb. 22. (U.S. Navy photo/Machinist’s Mate 3rd Class Brannon Deugan)

Free tax return preparation assistance is available for military members and their spouses. The IRS and U.S. Armed Forces participate in the Military Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.

The VITA program provides free tax advice, tax preparation, return filing, and other tax assistance to military members and their families.

2. Military OneSource Free Online Tax Filing

Each Year, Military OneSource (MOS) offers Free Online Tax Filing through a contracted online Tax Preparation company (typically H&R Block TaxCut or TurboTax).  To sign up, you must be registered for a free account with www.militaryonesource.mil and access the link from from within the MOS portal.

Otherwise, you’re likely to pay for the military-branded version of these services at $30 – $150!

Military OneSource Offers Free Tax Consultation & eFiling for Military Personnel

1. Military OneSource Free Tax Consulting

As the previous section alluded to, Military OneSource has tax and financial counselors available to assist you year-round. From tax planning to tax filing, these counselors can provide you with information to help you make informed decisions.

USS John C Stennis Sailor talks on the phone

Eligible members are entitled to FREE Telephonic Tax Counseling, by calling 1(800) 342-9647. Tax Counseling, unlike MOS Financial or non-medical counseling, is not limited to the the typical 12 session limitation, per issue, per year.

Here are some things MOS Tax Consultants can / cannot do:

Tax Consultants can:

  • Review IRS and state tax regulations and forms to locate the definitions or information related to your questions
  • Locate and reference military-specific tax information
  • Help you figure out which numbers should be entered into specific fields of particular forms
  • Provide electronic copies of needed IRS or state tax forms
  • Review options for utilizing a refund, savings or paying down debt
  • Explain additional tax services available such as VITA clinics on base or Military OneSource tax preparation and filing services
  • Connect you to other Military OneSource provided counseling services (Financial, Work-Life, non-medical, etc)

Tax Consultants cannot:

  • Answer questions related to trusts and limited liability companies and other “tax shelter” options
  • Prepare or file your State and/or Federal taxes for you
  • Provide advise or “directive and/or declarative statements” to you
    • For example, “You should do …” or “You need to …”
  • Answer technical questions relating to the Military OneSource tax preparation and filing service

Join the Conversation in the Comments below...
What other Military Tax Tips and Resources have you found helpful?

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