Every January, after we rang in the New Year, my father would start grumbling about taxes. One year, in a paper induced rage, he turned to my five-year-old brother and curly haired, goofy faced me, aged eight, and exclaimed: “Kids! You know the only two things you can depend on in life?!”
“Pizza!” I responded. “Captain Planet!” chimed my brother.
“NO!” my dad said. “Dea—”
“PAUL!” My mother intervened instantly.
My father, defeated by my mother’s attempt to keep talk of the grim reaper out of our dining room, exhaled slowly and tried again. You can depend on birthdays and taxes once a year.
At the time, I didn’t get it. However, as someone who recently jointly filed her income taxes for the first time with her new husband, I get it now: Every year we can rely on getting another year older and paying Uncle Sam. I also understand the fury caused by weirdly numbered and lettered forms, online filing fees, and standard versus itemized deductions. So I was ecstatic to find that the folks at the IRIS have special programs for Veterans and military families to alleviate some of this annual frustration.
The IRS and the Armed Forces have teamed up to provide the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program which provides free tax advice, tax preparation, return filing and other tax assistance. Many of the military-based VITA sites provide assistance to Veterans as well as military families. To find out of your local installation has the tax preparation service available for Veterans, call 1-800-906-9887.
As a Veteran, you may be eligible for free basic income tax preparation assistance at other local IRS sponsored community-based, volunteer tax return preparation sites. To be eligible for free assistance through these programs you must meet certain age and income requirements. More information on these programs can be found here.
Veterans of all ages can prepare and e-file their federal tax returns for free through the IRS Free File Program available on IRS.gov. Free File is offered through a public-private partnership between the IRS and brand-name tax software companies. Free File allows you to safely and securely download software for at home tax preparation and filing. Free File software is for taxpayers who earn $58,000 or less. If your 2010 adjusted gross income was over $58,000 you can use the Fillable Forms also located on the Free File website.
VA is always looking for ways to help Veterans, and we are thrilled to pass along this helpful tax information. Have you heard of any other local tax preparation help for Veterans? Will you be using these tips to help with your inevitable yearly task?