While April showers might bring May flowers, the fourth month of the year also brings the tax man. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, provided through the Armed Forces Tax Council, provides coordinators for the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard. These specialists are trained to address military-specific tax issues like combat-zone benefits and applying Earned Income Credit guidelines. These coordinators oversee the operation of military tax programs worldwide and serve as the main Internal Revenue Service outreach for military personnel and their families.
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance offices and Military OneSource offer free tax consultation and electronic filing to eligible service and family members. Visit your installation’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance or Legal Assistance office to have your income taxes completed free or to seek assistance with finding the closest Volunteer Income Tax Assistance site to you. Your Volunteer Income Tax Assistance office professionals can provide tax counseling face-to-face or while you complete your tax returns via Military OneSource’s self-paced tax filing and preparation software.
Military members, including retirees, are eligible to receive free tax consultation and preparation through Volunteer Income Tax Assistance locations. Eligibility for Military OneSource tax services does not include retirees, except for during the first 180 days after separation.
Before you visit
As tax day approaches, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance team is on your side. You can obtain tax advice, tax preparation, return filing and other tax services free.
To have your tax returns prepared, bring the following items to an assistance site:
- Valid photo identification
- Social Security cards for the taxpayer, his or her 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 to include insurance and property management)
- Work-related materials and expenses that have not been reimbursed by your employer (to include mileage information and vehicle maintenance)
- Documentation of donations and charitable expenses
- Other relevant data about income and expenses (information about move-related expenses that were not reimbursed, home remodeling expenses, total amount paid for day care (with your day care provider's identifying number, tax ID or Social Security number), and utility costs that may be eligible for tax credits)
- Last year's federal and state returns, if available (not necessary, but extremely helpful)
Having these documents available will make this process easier and possibly increase your return. Don't forget that when filing taxes electronically on a married/joint return, both spouses must be present to sign and have appropriate identification.