Get your documents together. It’s that time of year to get organized for filing your taxes. Whether you will owe Uncle Sam money or are expecting a tax refund in your account, service members and their families have access to tax filing resources that won’t cost a thing.
2017 Tax Guide for the Military Family
First thing’s first: Those W-2s.
DFAS (Defense Finance and Accounting System), also known as the entity that pays you or your sponsor, published a 2016 tax statement release schedule (aka the date your W-2 will be available online or via snail mail). The list is broken down by service branch and status (retiree, civilian employee, etc).
In order to access the electronic version, you have to have a login to myPay (the site that houses the military equivalent of a pay stub, also known as the Leave and Earnings Statement LES).
Here is a rundown of when those statements were released by branch:
Reserve Army, Navy, Air Force W-2 – available now
Marine Corps Active & Reserve W-2 – available now
Active Duty Army, Navy, Air Force W-2 – available now
A list of all others can be found here: DFAS publishes 2016 tax statement delivery schedule.
Next up: Other documents that may come in handy.
If you have other sources of income, employers have until January 31, 2017 to send out W-2s, according to the Internal Revenue Service. Examples of other items you may need in order to file are college tuition statements, bank statements, receipts, and mortgage interest statements.
When in doubt, ask the professionals at Military OneSource (for free). You can contact them between 7 a.m. until 11 p.m. EST at 800-342-9647.
Lastly: Where to file for free … or at a discount.
Once you have all of the above documentation ready, it is time to decide where/how to file. There are a few options to file for free.
Military OneSource – offers free online tax filing along with access to tax consultants.
- Note: In order to utilize this service, you must first establish a free account with Military OneSource. Click here to get started.
Installation Tax Centers – Military installations offer U.S. Armed Forces Legal Assistance on base (on post for you Army folks). Normally, you can schedule an appointment or walk-in if you have time to wait.
TurboTax – offers free and discounted rates for military by rank.2727
Last thing, make sure you file federal income taxes no later than April 18, 2017. Check your state’s filing deadline here.
Know of a free tax service for military members and their families? Leave the information in the comments and the HUN will add it to the list.