Tax time can be a big headache. But you can take command of your taxes with MilTax, Military OneSource tax services. It’s free, easy, accurate and exclusive to service members and their families. Don’t miss a deduction or an allowance due to you. Don’t go it alone. MilTax provides free confidential tax consultations, and tax preparation and filing software all tailored to the military community.
Getting an early start is the best way to power through your taxes. If you do a little bit of prep a little bit at a time, you'll save yourself a headache when it comes time to file. Instead of using the oh-so-original "there’s always tomorrow" approach, here are some things you should start gathering now:
Preparing ahead of time
One way to make tax time easier is to start gathering all the necessary documents and information you need ahead of time. Designate a specific location (a folder, a drawer, a shoebox, an electronic file, etc.) where you can place all the relevant information, so that when you are ready to file, you have everything you need.
Here are some of the things you should start gathering:
- Social Security number(s) and date(s) of birth for you, your spouse and other eligible family members
- Child care, education and adoption costs documentation
- All W-2 forms, from all employers, for you and your spouse
- Form 1099 for independent contractors
- Investment income forms
- Alimony information
- Social Security benefits information
- Miscellaneous income forms
- Form 1098-E for student loan interest
- Form 1098 for home mortgage interest
- Charitable donations receipts
- Medical and dental expense bills
- Real estate tax documents
- Receipts for any deductible expenses
You can download your military W-2 from myPay. Other tax forms are available on the Internal Revenue Service website, or you can pick them up from your local post office or library.
And when you're not busy dreaming up fabulous things to do with your tax refund, here are a few additional ways to get ahead of the curve:
- Create a list of questions for a tax consultant — You may want to ask: Can I write off a certain expense? Do I qualify for an extension?
- Be aware of special tax benefits you may qualify for as a service member, including a filing extension — Visit the Internal Revenue Service website or contact a trained MilTax consultant to find out more about these benefits.
- Pay attention to tax scams — The Internal Revenue Service posts about the most common tax scams, including shady tax preparers or phishing, on its website.
Taking advantage of MilTax
Military OneSource provides free online tax preparation and filing services. Take advantage of it.
- Complete and electronically file your federal return, and up to three state tax returns, at your own pace. You can log on, save and return to your forms as needed.
- Get year-round access to trained tax and financial consultants who can help you with answers to your tax questions, and maximize your refund.
Trained MilTax tax consultants:
- Share information about the unique tax requirements and issues related to military personnel and their families
- Provide electronic copies of tax forms and help you understand how to complete them
- Review options for using a refund, including options for paying down debt
To learn more about MilTax services, call (800) 342-9647.
Determining your eligibility
Tax services are available to active-duty service members, National Guard and reserve members, spouses, dependent children, surviving spouses, and others. Find out if you qualify by checking our eligibility section in the article "Free Tax Services Available Through Military OneSource."
Getting even more help
Reduce your debt, achieve your savings goals or attain more financial flexibility. These resources can help:
- The Personal Financial Management Program — This is an installation-based program offered by each of the services. Counselors provide education and counseling services on things like retirement planning, banking, budgeting, record keeping and more.
- Financial counseling — Financial counseling is available through Military OneSource (in addition to the tax consultation services) and the Military and Family Life Counseling Program.
- Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program — The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program provides free tax advice and preparation, return filing and other tax assistance to military members and their families. The Military OneSource tax preparation software is available at select VITA locations. To find a program site near you, use the Armed Forces Legal Assistance Legal Services locator.