By Allison Perkins
Are you dreading hauling that box of receipts and paperwork out from under your bed to file your taxes? Too bad. It’s time.
But, the good news is, military members can have their taxes done for free. All ranks can use free the H&R Block filing service for free online at www.militaryonesource.com. Junior rank personnel can visit the tax help office on their specific military installation where volunteers will walk you through the filing process.
At Marine Corps Base Hawaii, tax consultants there said as families prepare to visit the office they must bring all paperwork, w-2s, proof for items they want to claim and their Social Security cards – for the military member and all qualified dependents.
“That’s been an ongoing battle,” said Staff Sgt. Kelly Anderson. “They must bring proof of their Social Security number.”
Anderson also said many on-base tax offices are small and limited on space. Call ahead before your visit to see if children and strollers can be accommodated.
If you are filing taxes on your own, Anderson gives this advice:
- If you itemize deductions and the amount is not higher than the standard deduction for your filing status, you are better served to take the standard deduction
- Married couples will benefit more to file married and jointly than to file married, separately
- Military members can deduct the cost of rank and uniforms that are not worn for general, everyday use but they must itemize their return to do so
- If doing a multi-state filing, file all states you have a holding with to receive your taxes back in a timely manner and be sure they are correct.
To speak to a tax Military OneSource tax consultant, call 1-800-342-9647. They are available seven days a week, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. EST. Send questions via email to TaxQuestions@militaryonesource.mil
Anderson said families should keep in mind that the tax laws change every year and their return may not be as small, or as large, as it was the previous year.