Military Members: Get Free Tax Help


Notice: Historical Content

This is an archival or historical document and may not reflect current law, policies or procedures.

IRS Tax Tip 2016-43, March 18, 2016

The IRS offers free tax help to members of the military and their families through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. VITA is available both on and off base including sites for military members overseas. Here are five tips to know about free tax help for the military:

  1. Armed Forces Tax Council. The Armed Forces Tax Council oversees the military tax programs offered worldwide.
  2. Certified Staff. Military VITA certified employees staff their sites. They receive training on military tax issues, like tax benefits for service in a combat zone. They can help you with special extensions of time to file your tax return and to pay your taxes or with special rules that apply to the Earned Income Tax Credit.
  3. What to Bring. Take the following records with you to your military VITA site:
    • Valid photo identification.
    • Social Security numbers for you, your spouse and dependents; or individual taxpayer identification numbers (ITINs) or adoption taxpayer identification numbers (ATINs) for those who don’t have Social Security numbers.
    • Birth dates for you, your spouse and dependents.
    • Your wage and earning forms, such as Forms W-2, W-2G, and 1099-R.
    • Interest and dividend statements (Forms 1099).
    • Health coverage information forms such as Form 1095-A, 1095-B or 1095-C.
    • Exemption Certificate Number for exemptions that you obtained through the Marketplace.
    • A copy of your last year’s federal and state tax returns, if available.
    • Routing and account numbers for direct deposit of your tax refund.
    • Total amount you paid for day care and the day care provider’s identifying number. This is usually an Employer Identification Number or Social Security number.
    • Other relevant information about your income and expenses.
  4. Joint Returns. If you are married filing a joint return, generally both you and your spouse need to sign. If you both can’t be present to sign the return, you should bring a valid power of attorney form unless you are eligible for an exception. Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information, has more details.
  5. Health Care Tax Law Help. IRS Free File can help with tax provisions of the health care law. The software will walk you through the lines on the tax forms that relate to the Health Care Law. If your income was $62,000 or less, you qualify for Free File software. If you made more than $62,000, you can use Free File Fillable Forms.

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