IRS Free File Online and MilTax Make Tax Season Easier on Military Families
Military personnel filing taxes this year have free resources at their disposal.
In fact, the IRS listed these resources online in a recent tax tip, saying the e-filing options “make tax time easier” on both members of the U.S. military and their families.
One of those options, IRS Free File Online, offers not just free e-filing but also free online tax preparation and direct deposits of refunds. Another free resource, MilTax, even allows eligible taxpayers to file state tax returns for free. Here’s more information about both.
IRS Free File Online lists providers with free services for active military members.
As the IRS explains, you can use any smartphone, computer, or tablet to go to the IRS Free File Online website to see eight providers, and then choose one of the providers that offers free services to active military members with an AGI (adjusted gross income) of $73,000 or less.
“As long as you meet the eligibility criteria for the IRS Free File provider’s offer you selected, you must not be charged for the electronic preparation and filing of a federal tax return,” the IRS notes on the Free File website. However, the agency does note that some providers charge a fee to prepare state tax returns, but you’ll know about those fees upfront. Any state tax preparation or non-qualifying fees are required to be disclosed on the provider’s landing page.
A search on the offers comparison webpage shows that an active military member with an AGI of $72,000 is eligible for offers from all eight providers — FreeTaxUSA, TaxSlayer, FileYourTaxes.com, TaxAct, 1040Now, OLT, ezTaxReturn.com, and Free 1040 Tax Return.
The IRS tells taxpayers these programs are safe and are subject to Federal Trade Commission Privacy and Safeguard Rules. Also, the providers “may not disclose or use tax return information for purposes other than tax return preparation without your informed and voluntary consent,” the agency states.
The Department of Defense offers MilTax for the military community.
Another free option for members of the military and their family is MilTax, a suite of tax services provided by the Department of Defense. MilTax is available not just to active service members but also to honorably discharged service members who are within 365 days of their separation or retirement. The IRS says that there isn't an income limit and that eligible taxpayers can even file up to three state returns at no cost.
MilTax features tax preparation services and e-filing software, as well as support from tax professionals. It’s “designed to address the realities of military life, including deployments, combat and training pay, housing and rentals, and multi-state filings,” the agency says.
Accessing MilTax software takes three steps, as the MilTax website notes. You create or log into your Military OneSource account, navigate to the MilTax software starting page and specify whether you are using a Volunteer Information Tax Assistance (VITA) self-service kiosk, and then you create or log in to an existing account on the tax preparation software provider’s website.