Free tax preparation, advice available to military families

  • Published
  • By Nick Simeone
  • DoD News, Defense Media Activity
With the new year comes the annual dread of tax-filing season and the confusion and stress that can go along with it, especially for military families whose tax returns can be further complicated by frequent relocations, involvement of rental properties and other aspects of military life.

To ease the burden, the Defense Department, through Military OneSource, is teaming up again this year with H&R Block to offer no-cost tax preparation to the military community with a promise of guaranteed accuracy, a service that otherwise could cost military families hundreds of dollars or more.

No-cost consultation, tax preparation

Military OneSource offers no-cost tax consultation and no-cost tax preparation and filing to service and family members, as well as to reservists regardless of activation status, survivors, and separated service members until 180 days after their retirement, discharge or end-of-tour date, said Anthony Jackson, a Military OneSource program analyst.

Since it’s online, the service is available to eligible tax-filers regardless of where they are. “They can do one federal and up to three state tax returns -- again, at no cost to the service or family member,” Jackson said.

New features this year

This year, he said, the service is adding features to accommodate those with special tax-filing needs. “If your tax situation includes rental property, charitable deductions or mortgage interest, this software can accommodate those particular situations,” he explained.

Tax experts also are available by phone at no cost for anyone who may have questions before they start using the online tax preparation software.

“You’re getting individuals when you’re talking -- tax consultants who are thoroughly educated on the military situation, no matter what it is,” Jackson said. They also have knowledge of special tax exemptions for combat duty and other situations unique to the military.

The tax service being offered by Military OneSource is currently active.

Military OneSource was established by the DOD in 2002 to provide comprehensive information on military life free of charge.