For the complete list of free and discounted tax options for military families, see the Military.com Discount Center’s article, Free and Discounted Tax Preparation for Military.
Tax return preparation season is here, and I’m seeing plenty of people asking “Where can I do my taxes?” As military members, or military family members, you have a ton of options for where to get help with your taxes. Where should you start?
Most installations have Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) office, where training volunteers can help you with your basic income tax return preparation. Every office is different, but generally VITA programs offer services for simple returns with W-2 incomes. Few VITA offices will handle business income, rental houses, or other more unusual situation.
If you don’t know where your on-base tax assistance is located, it is usually coordinated through the legal services office. Give them a call and ask them how to find the VITA program.
H&R Block Online Via Military OneSource
H&R Block Online tax filing software is available for free through the Military OneSource program. You can use with in conjunction with the VITA program, or separately. If you don’t have a Military OneSource login, or your account is quite old, then you’ll need to create a Military OneSource account.
I’ve heard that this program can have fees for returns that require certain forms, but I haven’t yet run into that situation.
Military OneSource Tax Consultants
In addition to access to the H&R Block Online tax software, Military OneSource has tax consultants who can help you figure out how to use the software correctly.
Paying For A Professional
While free tax preparation help is a great thing for many people, keep in mind that more advanced tax situations may benefit from professional assistance. If you have a small business, own rental real estate, or have investment income, the cost of a professional accountant or tax preparer may be a good investment. In addition to minimizing your tax liability, a professional will give you peace of mind. That is priceless.
The right option depends on your specific tax situation(s) and your comfort with the tax process. Assess your needs and choose the right option for you.