As the saying goes: There are two certainties in life — death and taxes. Well, let’s leave death out of this conversation and focus on the April 15th tax deadline instead.
Military families have a very unique set of circumstances when it comes to taxes. You move a lot, you have a “home of record,” you may own property in a state that is not your home of record and that you don’t currently reside in. Then, there is that “deployment money” combat pay that is federally tax-free. There are so many things going on it can get confusing. Very confusing.
If you need a hand figuring it all out, Military OneSource can be an excellent resource. They offer free tax preparation for Veterans and they understand military pay. Through a program called MilTax, in partnership with the DoD and the IRS, they walk you through questions that can assist you in the e-filing program.
Now, there is also a theory that you get what you pay for, and some say that if it is free, it may not be as good. That theory may be true for some, but when it comes to military pay and all of the nuances of it, those connected to the military can gain a much better understanding of their taxes through MilTax. If you do choose to pay for tax services somewhere else, make sure you ask these questions:
- How familiar are you with military pay; what is taxable and what is nontaxable based on duty station, home of record, or deployment?
- Do you understand home of record for tax purposes?
- What is your familiarity with owning home(s) in other states, working in another state and having a home of record of a different state?
If your tax preparer can appropriately answer those questions for you and apply them to your taxes, then you should be in good hands. But if they can’t, you may want to give MilTax a try.