Information for Veterans
The Internal Revenue Service is committed to providing assistance to all Veterans. We work with community and government partners to provide timely federal tax-related information to Veterans about tax credits and benefits, free tax preparation, financial education and asset-building opportunities available to Veterans.
The Stakeholder Partnerships, Education and Communication (SPEC) office within the Wage & Investment Division has built a network of national and local partners. Organizations include corporate, faith-based, nonprofit, educational, financial and government. With so many tax benefits available today, taxes can serve as the starting point for a dream leading to stronger financial security for many people.
Partnership with VA
IRS and US Department of Veterans Affairs entered into a Memorandum of Understanding in 2015. The primary focus of the MOU is to provide free tax preparation services to Veterans and their families.
Partnering organizations prepare tax returns free for those whose incomes are low to moderate. Also check out the partner Outreach Corner for links to newsletter articles, podcasts, widgets and other electronic products to help reach out to customers with timely tax news they may need. If you represent a Veteran organization that assists other Veterans, why not look further to see how you can become involved?
If you are interested in partnering opportunities in your area, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and let us help you get started making an impact in your community today!
Free Tax Preparation Services
Each year, millions of people have their taxes prepared for free by IRS certified volunteers. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs have helped people for more than 40 years.
Here are some tips about VITA and TCE:
- Trained and Certified. The IRS works with local community groups to train and certify VITA and TCE volunteers.
- VITA Program. For the most part, VITA offers free tax return preparation to people who earn $54,000 or less in 2016.
- TCE Program. TCE is mainly for people age 60 or older. The program focuses on tax issues unique to seniors. AARP participates in the TCE program through AARP Tax-Aide.
- Free E-file. VITA and TCE provide free electronic filing. E-filing is the safest, most accurate way to file your tax return. If you combine e-file with direct deposit, you can get your refund faster.
IRS Free File
Whether you draw a paycheck, are self-employed or own a small business, you can use all available tax forms you need for free with IRS Free File. If you make $64,000 or less (in 2016), you qualify for free brand-name software offered through a partnership between the IRS and leading tax software providers. Some of these providers offer free federal and free state return preparation and electronic filing. If you made more than $64,000, you can use Free File Fillable Forms, electronic versions of IRS paper forms best for someone experienced in return preparation.
Earned Income Tax Credit
Many Veterans are eligible for various tax credits including the Earned Income Tax Credit, a refundable federal income tax credit for low- to moderate-income, working individuals and families. To qualify, you must meet certain requirements and file a tax return, even if you do not owe any tax or are not required to file.
Financial Education and Asset Building
Our partners recognize that financial education and asset building starts with ensuring individuals and families receive all the benefits to which they are entitled. These include the Earned Income Tax Credit and other tax credits, nutrition assistance, health insurance, heating/cooling allowance support and other national and local benefit programs. Many SPEC partners have incorporated financial education and asset building programs and services such as income support, debt and credit counseling, financial education training, banking education, home ownership and small business management into their free tax return preparation activities.
Special Tax Considerations
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 Veterans Affairs (which may include a retroactive determination) or
- The combat-disabled Veteran applying for, and being granted, Combat-Related Special Compensation, after an award for Concurrent Retirement and Disability.
Special tax considerations for disabled Veterans occasionally result in a need for amended returns.
VA Disability Benefits
Do not include disability benefits you receive from the VA in your gross income. In particular some of the payments which are considered disability benefits include:
- Disability compensation and pension payments for disabilities paid either to Veterans or their families,
- Grants for homes designed for wheelchair living,
- Grants for motor vehicles for Veterans who lost their sight or the use of their limbs, or
- Benefits under a dependent-care assistance program.
VA has created an eBenefits portal where you can apply for many of these benefits online. Veterans can apply for Veterans' Benefits Online (VONAPP), access VA Payment History, apply for VA Home Loan Certificate of Eligibility, check on Compensation & Pension Status, and more. Family members (spouses and dependents [ages 18+]) of Service members and Veterans may register for a Basic (Level 1) DS Logon to access eBenefits. View TRICARE benefits, explore eLearning opportunities, and request information from State VA offices online.
The VA publishes an annual benefits booklet, a comprehensive guide for Federal Benefits for Veterans, Dependents and Survivors.
If you are a military retiree and receive your disability benefits from the VA, see IRS Publication 525 for more information .
Veterans experience high rates of unemployment, poverty, and homelessness. The VA and other organizations work together through neighborhood stand-downs to help Veterans who are homeless. This collaborative effort provides a variety of services such as food, shelter, clothing, health screenings, and benefits counseling.
Veteran Legal Services
Research shows that Veterans have a significant and too often unmet need for legal services. Veterans who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless rank legal needs (e.g., regarding eviction or foreclosure proceedings, child support issues and outstanding warrants or fines) as some of their highest unmet needs. The website www.statesidelegal.org has:
- Legal information on various topics of interest to Veterans and
- A search engine that allows Veterans to find free legal help in their geographic area.
If you are a Veteran and have a disability per the VA, you may qualify for internships or you could be hired non-competitively for any federal position for which you qualify. The IRS Veterans Employment Program Office is designed to provide quality training and work experience to wounded warriors and Veterans by offering various non-paid internship opportunities within the IRS as well as help Veterans who qualify for one or more of the three special hiring authorities to become gainfully employed within the IRS.
Do you need alternate formats for IRS forms and publications?
The IRS is committed to making every document on its Web site accessible to everyone, including Veterans and individuals with disabilities. If you need help accessing these products, please visit our Accessible IRS Tax Products page. See also other forms and publications for people with disabilities.
Active Duty Military
This page is intended for Veterans. If you are looking for information for service members on active duty, please visit the IRS Military Web page.
- Institute for Veterans and Military Families
- National Coalition for Homeless Veterans
- National Resource Directory
- United States Department of Veterans Affairs eBenefits Portal
- U.S. Office of Personnel Management's Government-wide Veterans Employment Website
- Stateside Legal