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.
- TurboTax Freedom Edition is available to taxpayers with income of $31,000 or less, or
Eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
- 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.
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.
About the author: Richard Keeling is a Senior Tax Analyst at the Internal Revenue Service.