Tax Tips for Service Members and Veterans

The recent passing of Veteran’s Day reminds us that tax season and the filing deadline will be here before we know it. We are also reminded that women and men serving in the armed forces or who are military service veterans face unique and sometimes complex tax situations that can be challenging to navigate.

The IRS knows that service members and their families don’t have extra time to look for what information to collect and all the latest rules to file a complete and accurate federal income tax return. That could result in those members of the military, veterans, and their families missing out on tax benefits specifically for them.

The IRS has online tax resources and information designed to help members of the military community easily find the essential information needed to prepare for the upcoming tax filing season. Their site is one-stop shopping to make preparing for tax season easy. Here is what’s available:

  1. The main page for tax information for members of the military, veterans, and their families is at https://www.irs.gov/individuals/military. This should be your first stop to find links to helpful information, resources, services, and publications. 
  1. Taxpayers need to know their official military status to be eligible for certain benefits. Some benefits extend to contractors or members of support organizations working in a combat zone. See all of the details at https://www.irs.gov/individuals/military/eligibility-for-military-tax-benefits
  1. Women and men serving in a combat zone may also qualify for a tax exclusion and/or a special earned income tax credit, leading to a larger tax refund. Information about qualifying are found at https://www.irs.gov/individuals/military/tax-exclusion-for-combat-service and at https://www.irs.gov/credits-deductions/individuals/earned-income-tax-credit/military-and-clergy-rules-for-the-earned-income-tax-credit
  1. Military members and qualifying veterans can prepare and efile their income tax returns on MilTax for free https://www.militaryonesource.mil/financial-legal/tax-resource-center/miltax-military-tax-services/. Taxpayers who do not qualify for MilTax have other options to prepare and e-file their federal taxes for free. Most military installations offer free income tax assistance.

Veteran’s Day reminds us of the military community and the unique and challenging tax situations that they need to navigate. The IRS has resources to help members of the military community easily find the essential information needed to learn about and take advantage of tax benefits specifically for them. Check out the Armed Forces’ Tax Guide for comprehensive rules and guidance at https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/about-publication-3.