The IRS offers free tax help to members of the military and their families through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. A VITA site is easy to find on or off base — even overseas.
The Armed Forces Tax Council directs the military tax programs worldwide. Military VITA-certified employees receive training on military tax issues, including tax benefits for service in a combat zone. They can help with special extensions of time to file tax returns and pay taxes, or with special rules that apply to the Earned Income Tax Credit.
Members of the military going to a VITA site for their tax return preparation should bring these things with them:
- A valid power of attorney form, if needed. Married taxpayers filing a joint return generally requires both spouses to sign. If both can’t be present to sign the return, they will need a power of attorney, unless eligible for an exception.
- Valid military identification card.
- Social Security or individual taxpayer identification numbers for all household members or adoption taxpayer identification numbers for those who don’t have Social Security numbers.
- Birth dates for everyone listed on the tax return.
- Wage and earning forms, such as forms W-2, W-2G and 1099-R.
- Interest and dividend statements.
- Health Insurance forms. Taxpayers who purchased insurance through Healthcare.gov must bring Form 1095-A. Forms 1095-B and C for other types of insurance are optional this year, but taxpayers should know their coverage dates for all household members.
- Form 1098-T for students with post-secondary tuition expenses or grant income.
- A copy of last year’s federal and state tax returns, if available.
- Routing and account numbers for direct deposit of a tax refund.
- Total amount paid for day care and the day care provider’s identifying number. This is usually an Employer Identification or Social Security number.
- Other relevant information about income and expenses.
Additional IRS Resources:
- Military Pay Exclusion – Combat Zone Service
- Publication 4940, Tax Information for Active Duty Military and Reserve Personnel
- Publication 3, Armed Forces’ Tax Guide
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