Veterans: Tax season officially opens Jan. 23

IRS offers tips and filling help options to Veterans


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The Internal Revenue Service and partners from the states and tax industry remind taxpayers that the nation’s 2017 individual income tax filing season opens Monday, Jan. 23. The IRS expects more than 153 million tax returns to be filed this year and taxpayers have until Tuesday, April 18, to file their 2016 tax returns and pay any tax due. The deadline is extended because the Emancipation Day, a holiday in Washington, D.C., will be observed on Monday, April 17, pushing the nation’s filing deadline to April 18.

There is a new law that goes into effect this year called the “Combat-Injured Veterans Tax Fairness Act of 2016” – Under federal law, Veterans who suffer combat-related injuries and who are separated from the military are not supposed to be taxed on the one-time lump sum disability severance payment they receive from the Department of Defense. More than $78 million is owed to an estimated 14,000 Veterans. This law corrects this problem by instructing DOD to identify Veterans who were taxed in order for them to file an amended return to receive their money back.

Choosing e-file and direct deposit for refunds remains the fastest and safest way to file an accurate income tax return and receive a refund. The IRS anticipates issuing more than nine out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days from the time returns are received.

Each year, millions of tax returns are prepared for free by taxpayers using IRS Free File or by volunteers at community organization sites nationwide.

IRS trained and certified volunteers at thousands of Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (VITA and TCE) sites nationwide offer free tax preparation and e-filing. VITA offers free tax return preparation to taxpayers who earn $54,000 or less. The TCE program is mainly for people age 60 or older and focuses on tax issues unique to seniors. AARP participates in the TCE program and helps taxpayers with low to moderate incomes.

  • To find the closest VITA site, visit IRS.gov and search the word “VITA.” The IRS2Go Mobile App can help find free tax preparation assistance, check your refund status and more! Site information is also available by calling the IRS at 800-906-9887.
  • To locate the nearest AARP Tax-Aide site, visit AARP.org, or call 888-227-7669. There are also VITA and TCE sites that provide bilingual help for taxpayers who have limited English skills.

IRS Free File lets taxpayers who earned less than $64,000 prepare and e-file a return for free. Go to IRS.gov and click on the ‘Filing’ tab for options on using commercial tax software. Commercial partners of the IRS offer free brand-name software to about 100 million individuals and families with incomes of $64,000 or less. Seventy percent of the nation’s taxpayers are eligible for IRS Free File. Those who earned more than $64,000 are still eligible for Free File Fillable Forms, the electronic version of IRS paper forms. This more basic Free File option is best for people who are comfortable preparing their own tax returns.

The IRS urges taxpayers to avoid fly-by-night preparers who may not be available after this year’s April 18 due date or who base their fees on a percentage of the refund. The IRS also reminds taxpayers that a new law requires all refunds on returns that claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) be held until February 15.  This change helps the IRS detect and prevent fraud.

For more information about veterans please go to the “Information for Veterans” website on IRS.gov.

Editor’s note: VA does not endorse any of these sites, but brings your attention to them as they have free tax services available specifically for Veterans and their families.


Richard Keeling

Richard Keeling is a senior tax analyst with the IRS’s Disability & Veteran Programs/National Partnerships office.

Author

VAntagePoint Contributor

— VAntage Point Contributors provide insight and perspective on a wide range of Veterans issues. If you’d like to contribute a story to VAntage Point, learn how you can submit a guest blog at http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/how-to-submit-a-guest-post/

Comments

  1. John R. Dundon II, EA    

    #EnrolledAgent thinks this is a grEAt post!

  2. Lance Daniel Payne    

    I don’t see any veteran specific information here. Am I missing something or should this not have the word veteran in the title?

  3. Gale L. Winters    

    Is VA disability compensation taxable in state or federal levels?

  4. brian tolbert    

    This post tells nothing to help veterans

    1. Rick    

      This is the page they should have posted, it has your answer. https://www.irs.gov/individuals/information-for-veterans

    2. Bruce    

      It isn’t taxable…You don’t even have to declare it on your tax returns.

    3. bob ferretti    

      VA disability is NOT taxed at the state or federal level.

  5. Tim pfaff    

    VA “disability compensation” is not taxable through federal or state taxes. It is considered conpensation, not income and therefore does not even require it to be claimed on tax forms.

    1. Richard Van Abel    

      Your positive about this Tim, I just started receive in VA Disability Compensation as of Jan 27th this year, it was granted in June, got paid a lump sum back to January, than a regular amount every month after, and I don’t have a clue what to do with ot on my taxes, I was wondering who to ask forst, without getting my butt busted…..

  6. William white    

    This doesn’t have anything to do with Vets

  7. N Fuhs    

    VA disability payments are not taxable by law. The use if the term compensation is not relevant – many forms if compensation are taxable .

  8. Dina Hudson    

    Are the 911 GI Bill benefits taxable? Do I have to include the BAH stipend as taxable income?

  9. Brad Ortzman    

    I don’t see anything addressing tips for veterans on this page.

  10. Debbie Kaczmarek    

    VA benefits are NOT taxable at any level. Federal, State or Local. I was a tax preparer for 22 years.. and my husband is a disabled vet.

  11. Chad mahana    

    Read most of the posts above. The monthly “compensation” you are receiving and your “lump sum” is NOT TAXABLE in any way by state or federal laws. You will NEVER have to report anything the VA gives you. I’ve been 100% for almost 10 years and have never filed. I’ve even done H&R block for my wife and there’ll you as well that any funds from the VA will NEVER be taxed unless Trump changes it.

  12. Richard Keeling    

    The Free Tax Preparation programs offered by IRS partners have a special emphasis on serving Veterans. In addition, this is the outreach and education function of the IRS and we have a signed Memorandum of Understanding with US Department of Veteran Affairs to assist Veterans with free tax preparation assistance, financial education and asset building opportunities. I apologize for not putting that information in this blog.

    As someone mentioned above, please see our webpage at https://www.irs.gov/individuals/information-for-veterans and you may also contact me at Richard.Keeling@IRS.gov.

  13. John F Odell Jr.    

    Thank you for serving us. It isn’t easy to please everyone, or answer all questions for every individual. I appreciate your service to us as veterans. thank you.

Comments are closed.