Free tax return preparation for Veterans, military members and their families


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Earlier this week, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) started accepting electronically filed tax returns as well as paper returns. The IRS reminds taxpayers that filing electronically is the most accurate and safest way to file a tax return, as well as the fastest way to get a refund.

The following links to free tax preparation services will ensure current and former members of the military and their families have access to free tax preparation and electronic filing services to keep more of their hard earned money.

  • IRS’ Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs are available to taxpayers that earned less than $53,000 in 2014. Over 3.5 million tax returns were prepared using these services in 2014. All tax returns completed through these programs are prepared by IRS certified volunteers so you can feel confident your tax return is accurate. There are over 12,000 locations where you can utilize these services. To find the closest location near you, simply enter your zip code into the easy-to-use VITA/TCE Locator.
  • MyFreeTaxes, operating the only free online tax preparation and filing assistance platform available in all 50 states and Washington D.C., allows qualified Veterans, active-duty military, their families and all other qualifying taxpayers who earned $60,000 or less in 2014 to file both a federal and state tax return no matter where they live. In addition to e-filing, MyFreeTaxes also provides in-person help to individuals and families earning $60,000 or less in 2014. For more information, please visit: www.myfreetaxes.com. The MyFreeTaxes initiative is delivered in partnership by three nationally recognized nonprofits – Goodwill Industries International, National Disability Institute and United Way – and is sponsored by the Wal-Mart Foundation.

In addition to free tax preparation and assistance services like VITA, TCE and MyFreeTaxes, there are several other options qualifying Veterans and military families can utilize free of charge. However, please make note of additional eligibility requirements and be advised not all are available in your particular location. Check each for more information on eligibility and availability of services.

  • IRS.gov/FreeFile is the one place where taxpayers can choose from a variety of industry-leading tax software options in order to prepare and e-file their federal tax returns at absolutely no cost. If you earned $60,000 or less last year, you are eligible to choose from among 14 software products. If you earned more, you are still eligible for Free File Fillable Forms, the electronic version of IRS paper forms. More than 70 percent of all taxpayers – 100 million people – are eligible for the software products. Each of the 14 companies has its own special offers, generally based on age, income or state residency. Taxpayers can review each company offer or they can use a “Help Me” tool that will find the software for which they are eligible. Free File offers easy-to-use products that ask questions and you supply the answers. The software will find the right forms, find the right tax credits and deductions and even do the math for you.

Eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

  • Second Story TaxAct is another IRS Free File option. To qualify for free tax preparation, printing, & e-filing, your adjusted gross income must be $52,000 or less, and you must be between the ages of 18 through 58 years old.
  • H&R Block’s Free File offers free online assistance if you earned $58,000 or less, and if you were 53 years old or younger as of December 31, 2014.
  • Online Taxes (OLT) offers free tax preparation if your Adjusted Gross Income is between $13,000 and $60,000 in 2014.

The following free online software companies are available exclusively to members of the military:

  • TurboTax Military Edition created a software program specifically for service members. There is currently a free version for junior enlisted and a discount version for senior enlisted and officers.
  • Military OneSource is once again offering a no-cost, electronic tax filing service. If you are eligible under the Military OneSource program, you can complete, save, and file your 2014 federal and up to three state returns online at no cost.
  • TaxSlayer Military is available to all active duty military. You can prepare both your federal and state return for free with TaxSlayer Military Edition.

If you have already filed your taxes and want to know when you will receive your refund, don’t forget to download the IRS app, IRS2Go! This app is available in both English and Spanish and provides features to help taxpayers check on the status of their tax refund, obtain tax records, find free tax preparation providers and stay connected with the IRS through social media channels such as YouTube and Twitter.

iPhone and iTouch users can update or download the free IRS2Go application by visiting the iTunes App Store. Android users can visit Google Play to download the free IRS2Go app.

Please note that VA does not endorse any of these sites, but brings your attention to them as they have tax services available specifically for Veterans and military families.

Richard Keeling

About the author: Richard Keeling is a Senior Tax Analyst at the Internal Revenue Service.

Author

Richard Keeling

Comments

  1. Lissa    

    Hi. I am Retirement Army and Disable but my 2 children: school (13 yrs.) and 3 yrs. daycare. 2013 HR & Block, no daycare/no refund. Why?

    1. Kay    

      I’m not sure. It maybe because you do not have any “earned income” which allows you to receive the earned income credit. Don’t pay to have your taxes done but you these free services.

  2. Timothy Rayburn    

    i am staying in the Philippines and want to know how i can fill my Tax’s i am a disable Vet. and only live on my V.A. Check each month, no other income. can you give me a web sight that can do my tax’s for me please. i need to do it really, has not been done in the fast few years and it cost to much for me to do and do not understand how to do it from oversea. Please help me with this matter.

  3. Nick D.    

    Do you people not have spell check? Your grammar skills are horrendous and offensive. And guess what? This stupid comment box has a built-in spell check because I spelled something wrong! How did you pass the ASVAB?

    1. Mark S.    

      Nick, sometimes the older folks have trouble using keyboards and smart phones. Though it annoys me when a fully able-bodied person such as you or I make blatant grammar mistakes on open forums, I try and give some slack to those who I feel have deserved it. My advice, lighten up, take a deep breath and everything will be all right.

    2. Dan F    

      Nick, this is a site for vets, not people who want to prove how smart they are.

    3. Kim    

      Nicky D!!!

      If this is so offensive to you I suggest that you remove yourself off of this site!!!
      You can rest asure that no one will miss you. If you have that much time to nit pick to see if things are spelled right or not u need a new profession..

      1. Danny    

        Have a nice day Nick!

  4. Mike Jarrett    

    I already know I am not required to file federal taxes. I am needing to know where I can get the income limits to determine if I am required to file Indiana taxes. Can anyone help me ?
    Thanks

    1. Richard    

      You should see if you qualify for any Federal or State credits, even if you are below the income limitations.

      Indiana state info – http://www.efile.com/efile-indiana-income-tax-return-file-in-state-taxes-form-refund/

  5. Ronald Magill    

    Notifications of change of address,

  6. Taylor    

    I was medically separated (combat injury), do I need any paperwork for the disability pay and separation pay (tax free/ St Clair act) to file my taxes?

    1. andre    

      Hi,Vet

      I can tell you the VA Disability pay is tax free and not earned income. Any penison pay must be claimed, but not as wages, salary,tips, only as pension. Any social security
      benefits or claimed if you meet a certain annual pay. The separation pay may have to be claimed as earned income. Hope this heps!

      1. Taylor    

        Andre,

        Thanks, what forms and from who do I get the statements? I have yet to receive anything regarding my disability payments or my separation pay. The separation pay is not on the separated W-2. I called DFAS with no luck.

  7. DamonWV    

    I have a rental property that I rent out to people. Are any of those free programs to vets above able to figure my taxes , seeing how they will be a little but more complicated with deductions, depreciation.. Mortgage, taxes, insurance etc.

    1. Richard    

      Probably not because most volunteers are not trained to complete those returns.

  8. Bobbi    

    My husband was medically retired last year. I went to his my pay and there is no W-2 How do we get one ? He was on active duty until NOV 2014.

    1. Rob    

      Bobbi –

      If you’re logging in as him, they are there. If you’re authorized use, with your own credentials, my guess is you do not have access to the tax statements.

  9. zhuntsman    

    I draw a va pension from my disabled deceased husband..is this counted as income?

    1. Richard    

      It is probably not taxable. If the pension qualifies for the exclusion for a service-connected disability, do not include in income the part of your pension that you would have received if the pension had been based on a percentage of disability.

  10. Chris    

    My Legal state of residency is New York but I am active duty living in Virginia. I am also tax exempt from paying state taxes. My question do I need to still file a state tax return even though I am exempt and not paying state taxes?

    1. Richard    

      I only work with federal taxes however if you are tax exempt from paying state taxes, I don’t see why you would have to file a separate state tax return. Are you exempt from filing federal taxes?

  11. Meloniece Gaskin    

    Good morning,

    I am a disabled veteran and a tax adviser who provides free tax advice to veterans along with tax preparation. I am a certified as a Veteran Owned Business. If anyone would like to reach me with any questions, please email me at integritytaxpreparation@gmail.com. I also provide second look at past filed tax returns.

  12. JFW    

    Are the income maximums listed a combined (husband and wife) income total or the total for the veteran only? If the combined total is over the maximum as listed, but the veteran’s income is within the limits, can the veteran use one of these and still file jointly? Or will the joint income exceeding the listed maximums exclude the veteran and spouse from using one of these for preparation?

    1. Richard    

      The income limitations are based on total income for the tax return. The software programs have built-in limitations so if your combined income is greater than what is shown for each program, your tax return cannot be completed for free.

  13. Karen Colon    

    Can someone tell me if the W-2/1099’s have been mailed?

    1. Richard    

      Employers are required to provide W-2s and 1099’s by January 31. If you do not receive your W-2 or 1099 in early February, you should contact your employer or place of business.

  14. Lacey    

    My fiance recently went from 80% to 100% disabled. He does not work but was attending school until 2014. He previously had the GI Bill plus his disability pay but now lives on his disability pay only. He has not filed taxes since he was medically discharged. Since his pay is tax free and not income does he have to file a tax return? We have different views on this.

  15. Richard    

    Do not include disability benefits you receive from the Department of Veterans Affairs in your gross income. Do not include in your income any veterans’ benefits paid under any law, regulation, or administrative practice administered by the VA such Education, training, and subsistence allowances.

    Are his disability payments from the VA?

    1. Richard    

      I forgot to mention that if this is his only source of income and it is considered non-taxable, he would not have to file a tax return.

      1. Lacey    

        Thank you for answering my question. Yes, his disability payments are from the VA and are his only source of income. He will be receiving disability from the Army as soon as they decide on his percentage of disability.

        Once we are married I will not have a problem claiming HOH and him as a dependent on my taxes will I?

        1. Richard    

          Lacey, once you are married, you must file either Married Filing Joint or Married Filing Separate.

          You can access information about your filing status @ IRS.gov.

          There is a filing status tool to help you: http://www.irs.gov/uac/What-is-My-Filing-Status%3F

  16. Danny    

    I receive VA disability & SSA, but am undergoing “debt repair”. When my atty settles a debt any charge offs could generate a 1099; is this considered income? FYI: Debt repair attys make it sound great, but it is a big headache. Also, can anyone point me in the right direction for help filing under these circumstances.

    1. Richard    

      You may want to contact http://statesidelegal.org/ and they work closely with the VAs Veteran Justice Outreach program. I am not sure if they can help you with your income taxes but they may know someone that can.

      1. Danny    

        Thank You, Richard. The debt repair attys have a program that can help & it even makes my monthly pmt to them a little less. I guess they figure I will need their help for a while longer. THANKS

  17. Erika    

    I accidently came across your blog post searching for Veterans benefits. Great information! I wish I would have known about this last year my dad is a veteran and 83 years old. H&R block charged him $550 dollars to complete his taxes last year!

  18. Chris    

    I got out of the millitary in Feb 2014. How do I get my W-2? I thought it would be mailed to me but it has not. I no longer have access to mypay.

    1. Richard    

      W-2s are required to be sent to you by January 31. You may have to call personnel to find out why you haven’t received your W-2.

  19. damier    

    I recently got discharge from the army and still haven’t received my w-2 how do I received it

    1. Richard    

      Please see the comment I made above. W-2s are required to be sent by January 31 and you may have to call personnel.

  20. Mary Prier    

    I am trying to find out if the VA Funding Fee I paid last year to refinance my house is tax deductible. I believe I meet all of the various requirements but I need to know if it matters whether or not I financed the funding fee in with the mortgage. It was quite a large amount. I cannot find this in writing anywhere. How can I find out?

  21. Sharon    

    My husband passed away in 2014. He was a retired disabled vet. I received no insurance benefit. The only income was nontaxable BUT I’m currently at the poverty level, with a child and have lots of dental bills, charitable donations (from before he passed), funeral bill and probably qualify for EIC. Should I file a return even though I’m not required? I cannot afford to see an accountant. Thank you for any help.

    1. Richard    

      To qualify for the Earned Income Credit, you must have earned income, which means earnings from an employer or self-employment income. If you are not sure if you have to file, you can call the MyFreeTaxes helpline at 1-855-698-9435.

  22. Paul    

    I am 83 and collect social security and a small retirement check and my wife is 52 and works full time. Do we still have to file joint return or can she file alone and me not file because I don’t work?

    1. Richard    

      You can file Married Filing Joint or Married Filing Separate. You may want to see which is more advantageous to your situation.

  23. Tina    

    My husband is disabled and finally got his non service connected disability in December.no understand it is taxable but we have never received any kind of a statement from VA for it. I thought we had to have those by the last of January. I am not sure who to even call and ask about this but I would like to getourtaxes done and off my mind.

  24. DVX    

    I got a T&P rating in 2014. According to the IRS website “Disabled veterans may be eligible to claim a federal tax refund based on: an increase in the veteran’s percentage of disability from the Department of Veteran Affairs (which may include a retroactive determination)……to do so, the disabled veteran will need to file the amended return, Form 1040x…”

    The 1040x form does not give me the option to include my retroactive award. Since it is not reportable I just insert zeroes and give them my award letter and retroactive award proof?

    I do not understand how I would get a refund since I was never actually taxed on my VA disability pay. Here is the link http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Military/Special-Tax-Considerations-for-Veterans

    Any advice on how to handle this would be appreciated. Thank you for helping veterans with their tax issues.

  25. figueroa j.j    

    Do I have to file taxes if I just recive the va compensation since I don’t work and how I file them in the puerto rico area thanks greatly apreciate your reply thanks for the help in advace

    1. Richard    

      No, you do not have to file.

  26. Richard    

    Haven’t received your Form W-2 yet? The IRS can help. It’s tax time and you need your Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, to file an accurate federal tax return. If your employer hasn’t sent you the form yet, contact them and ask for a copy. Make sure they have your correct address.

    If the form hasn’t arrived by Feb. 23, contact the Internal Revenue Service at 800-829-1040.

    Let them know:
    -your name, address, Social Security number and phone number,
    -your employer’s name, address and phone number,
    -the dates you worked for the employer and
    -an estimate of your wages and federal income tax withheld in 2014. (You can use your final pay stub for these amounts.)

    Still no Form W-2? You have two choices.
    1. File your return by April 15 and use Form 4852, Substitute for Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement. Try to estimate your wages and withholding as best you can.
    2. Ask for more time to file by using Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S Individual Income Tax Return. You can even e-file the request.

    But, if it turns out the information on the Form W-2 is different than you reported, you might need to file an amended tax return. Just use Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, to make the change.

    You can visit IRS.gov/Forms-&-Pubs to view, download or print the tax forms you need right away.

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  28. KP    

    My husband retired in 2013 and has only had a part time job since his retirement. We took a huge cut in pay and had to get unemployment benefits for a short period of time. We paid almost 6000 in taxes and it says we are only due a refund of 400. Whenever I include his retirement pay into TurboTax or HRBlock the refund drops from 2600 down to 400. We have federal taxes being taken out of his retirement pay and only claim married 0. We normally get a decent sized refund, but this year we can’t seem to figure out why it dropped drastically. Any help would be appreciated.

    I worked part time all year, he worked part time all year + retirement check and partial unemployment benefits.

  29. Richard    

    A $400 refund means you are having the correct amount of withholding deducted. You can always change your withholding by completing a W-4 and can request more monies taken out of your husband’s retirement pay. That means less money for you and your husband during the year.

    I’m not sure why your refund has changed from prior years however I would seek assistance by contacting someone before you file your taxes.

    1. KP    

      We didn’t change any withholding that’s the part that boggles us. We prefer to have less each check then get the refund. I was just hoping for answers before visiting a local tax office.

  30. KP    

    Thanks. We didn’t change any of our withholdings so it should have stayed the same. I was just hoping for answers before visiting a local tax office.

Comments are closed.