Thumbs up to my friend Ryan at The Military Wallet, who reminded me that today is the first day that the IRS e-file system is up and running for 2011 tax returns. Ryan has also put together a great list of the many ways that military families can file their taxes for free, including the free software available through MilitaryOneSource.com. I have used the MilitaryOneSource program and I am really pleased with it.
Please don’t forget that while you can file with your last LES or other final pay information, the law says that you are supposed to wait until you have your W-2 in hand. I don’t know the reasoning behind this, but I do know that there are often changes to military pay information between the time the last LES is calculated in mid-December and the time that the LES comes out in the last half of January. This is particularly true if you are moving in or out of a special pay situation such as being in a combat zone, being “at sea,” receiving Family Separation Allowance, etc. If you file with your last pay information and then your W-2 is different, you’ll have to file an amended return, and that is no fun. You’ll also have to file an amended return if you receive more tax documents, such as interest statements on bank accounts, after you have filed.